AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, issued the following statement on House passage of the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019, which would reauthorize Title VII programs managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):
“The AAMC is greatly appreciative that the House of Representatives has passed the EMPOWER for Health Act. Today’s vote is affirmation of the importance of supporting a health care workforce that can care for the nation’s growing, aging, and diverse patient population.
The EMPOWER for Health Act reauthorizes programs under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act that are administered by HRSA. These programs support efforts to build a diverse, culturally competent health professions pipeline and a workforce that meets the needs of individuals in both rural and urban underserved communities.
As we face nationwide shortages in the health professions, investment through Title VII programs in the public health, geriatric, and pediatric workforces will create a robust network of providers who are trained to serve some of the most vulnerable patients. Studies show that Title VII program participants are more likely to work in community health centers or serve in the National Health Service Corps, bolstering the primary care workforce and improving access to care for rural and underserved communities. These programs have also been shown to aid in building a more diverse workforce and enhance learning environments that increase creativity and innovation for students, leading to better health outcomes for patients.
In order to fully realize the benefit of today’s action, we urge the Senate to take up and pass this bill. Further, Congress must work quickly in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to complete the FY 2020 appropriations process and pass a full year funding bill that provides robust support for these and other vital programs.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.