AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement regarding Senate passage of the conference agreement on the fiscal year 2019 appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS):
“We thank lawmakers for coming together in a bipartisan manner to produce a Labor-HHS appropriations bill. The bill passed by the Senate today will support vital health care programs that benefit all Americans, including funding for medical research and the health care workforce.
The $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will support cutting-edge medical research at medical schools and teaching hospitals and help deliver on the promise of a healthier tomorrow to millions of patients battling life-threatening and chronic diseases. This additional funding builds on significant investments in the NIH over the past three fiscal years, continuing a trend of sustained, meaningful growth that enables researchers to examine the full spectrum of science, address emerging and ongoing public health crises, and discover new pathways of investigation that could lead to tomorrow’s cures.
The support for the NIH complements additional funding for other federal agencies. An increase of $4 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will help bring the breakthroughs developed by NIH-supported research from the bench to the bedside, optimizing the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the nation’s health care delivery system. Additionally, continued investment in workforce development programs within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), including the Health Careers Opportunity Program, the Area Health Education Centers Program, and a new HRSA graduate medical education grant program, will help promote a culturally competent workforce and improve access to health care professionals in underserved communities.
In particular, the AAMC applauds Senate leadership, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), for their bipartisan commitment to timely enactment of this bill and for their long-standing support of the NIH and other critical health care programs.
We urge the House to pass this bill prior to October 1 to ensure these critical health care programs continue to support our patients and our nation’s health security.”
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.