OME Advocate Newsletter

Delivered twice-monthly right to your in-box, AACOM's OME Advocate keeps you informed and involved in policy discussions and legislation around healthcare, medical students and osteopathic medical education.


OME Advocate

April 1, 2024

What You Need to Know

AACOM Celebrates Community TEAMS Act Senate Introduction

Apr 1, 2024, 12:54 PM by AACOM Government Relations

AACOM applauds U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) for introducing the Senate companion bill, S. 3968, to the Community Training, Education, and Access for Medical Students (Community TEAMS) Act on March 19, 2024.

With the Senate’s introduction, we are one step closer to expanding clinical rotation training opportunities in community-based settings for all third- and fourth-year medical students, especially in rural and medically underserved areas.

With Senate bill introduction, the support of 40 national and state organizations and your advocacy, we can make a difference for medical students, patients and communities. Learn more about the legislation and urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor the Community TEAMS Act.

Take Action!

FY24 Spending Bill Continues AACOM-Requested Language for More Osteopathic Research and Representation at NIH

Apr 1, 2024, 12:56 PM by AACOM Government Relations

Congress continues to recognize the importance of osteopathic medicine and the benefits of osteopathic research and representation within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the fiscal year (FY) 2024 funding bill:

The Committee recognizes that increased access to research funding for the osteopathic profession will significantly bolster NIH’s capacity to support robust recovery from the COVID–19 pandemic, address health disparities in rural and medically-underserved populations, and advance research in primary care, prevention, and treatment. The Committee urges NIH to consider how best to incorporate colleges of osteopathic medicine into research activities and involvement of their researchers on NIH National Advisory Councils and study sections to have better representation of the osteopathic medicine field.

This language was sought by AACOM and builds on legislation from past appropriations cycles. AACOM’s comprehensive strategy to expand osteopathic research and representation at the NIH began in 2020 and has resulted in language in Labor, Health and Human Service, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHSE) reports over the past three years, as well as a bipartisan, bicameral letter to NIH from 27 Members of Congress. To learn more about funding for other programs of importance to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community, please read the policy section below and review AACOM’s detailed analysis.

AACOM Advocates

Take Action! Promote Mental and Behavioral Health Among Healthcare Professionals

Apr 1, 2024, 12:57 PM by AACOM Government Relations

Join AACOM in elevating the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act (S.3679/H.R. 7153), a bipartisan, bicameral bill, endorsed by AACOM, that seeks to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout and mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals. The bill would reauthorize grant programs and a national evidenced-based education and awareness campaign.

Named in honor of Dr. Lorna Breen, an emergency room physician who died by suicide in 2020, the original bill was signed into law in early 2022. This month, a bipartisan Senate resolution (S.Res.567) designated March 18, 2024, as Health Workforce Well-Being Day of Awareness, the date coinciding with the day that the original bill was signed into law. The National Academy of Medicine Collaborative, of which AACOM is a founding member, sought this resolution and is collectively working to advance the well-being of health professionals. AACOM is also working to address burnout and advance resilience among the OME community through a multi-year $2.2 million grant.

Tell Congress to cosponsor S. 3679/H.R. 7153!

Take Action!

Policy Update

President Biden Signs Spending Bill, Supporting OME Priorities

Apr 1, 2024, 12:58 PM by AACOM Government Relations
  • On March 23, 2024, President Biden signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, P.L. 118-47, which includes funding for Defense; Financial Services and General Government; Homeland Security; LHHSE; Legislative Branch; and State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
  • In addition to the inclusion of report language urging increased osteopathic research and representation at NIH and highlighted above, the spending bill maintained flat funding for many priority healthcare agencies and programs:
    • $47.1 billion, a 0.8 percent decrease, for the NIH
    • $580.3 million, a 0.2 percent increase, for the Health Resources and Services Administration Title VII Health Professions Programs
    • $369 million, a 1.2 percent decrease, for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • The LHHSE appropriations bill acknowledged some important health provisions and OME priorities, such as:
    • $1.86 billion, an 8.9 percent increase in discretionary funding, for Community Health Centers
    • $364 million, an increase of $12 million, for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Programs, including a continuing $145 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program. The bill also provides $12.7 million for the Rural Health Residency Program. This program funds physician residency training programs that support physician workforce expansion in rural areas.
    • $60 million for medical student education to support colleges of medicine at public universities located in the top quintile of States projected to have a primary care provider shortage. The bill directs HRSA to give priority to applications from academic institutions located in States with the greatest number of Federally recognized Tribes. It also directs HRSA to give priority to applications from public universities with a demonstrated public-private partnership.
    • $18 million within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public health workforce development. This program line, also called Public Health and Preventive Medicine, funds programs that are authorized in Titles III and VII of the PHS Act (Public Law 111–148) and supports awards to schools of medicine, osteopathic medicine, public health and integrative medicine programs.
    • $12.2 million, a 3.4 percent increase, for rural health programs
    • $4 million, a 10.5 percent increase, supporting telehealth
    • Rural Health Equity – The Committee recognizes the importance of the Corps Scholarship Program, especially in combating the rural healthcare provider shortage, and recommends that HRSA increase the number of scholarships provided. Providing NHSC scholarships, particularly to students from rural communities, will increase equitable access to medical school and help to solve the rural provider workforce shortages throughout the United States.
    • Administrative Academic Units – Funding of academic administrative units, such as medical school departments and divisions, under the PCTE program has been a critical part of the program both in its role in medical student selection of primary care training programs and in facilitating scholarly activity in departments of family medicine. The Committee directs HRSA to maintain this funding and to continue funding opportunities to support administrative academic units within medical schools. While the final bill supports inclusion of administrative academic units within medical schools, the directive in Senate Report 118-84 is not included.
  • For a more comprehensive breakdown and analysis of the spending bill, see AACOM’s summary.

OME Priorities Included in President’s FY25 Budget Request

Apr 1, 2024, 12:59 PM by AACOM Government Relations
  • On March 11, 2024, President Biden unveiled his $7.3 trillion budget request for FY25.
  • Due to previously agreed upon budget caps from the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, at $1.63 trillion, the FY25 budget requests 5.7 percent less in discretionary spending compared to FY24.
  • Discretionary spending refers to programs that aren’t linked with mandatory spending like Social Security and funds many provisions important to the OME community. View AACOM’s analysis.

House Education and Workforce Committee Holds Full Committee Markup on Accreditation

Apr 1, 2024, 13:00 PM by AACOM Government Relations
  • On March 21, 2024, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a full committee markup.
  • The Committee passed the Accreditation for College Excellence Act of 2023 (H.R. 3724) with a 24-14 vote. The bill, introduced by Representative Burgess Owens (R-UT), would prohibit accreditors from mandating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) standards to receive accreditation. It would also prohibit accreditors from assessing an institution’s commitment to an ideology for the purpose of receiving Higher Education Act funding.
  • AACOM continues to monitor the bill and similar policy discussions related to DEI and accreditation. For more information, view AACOM’s summary of the markup.

Engagement and Resources

Engagement and Resources

Apr 1, 2024, 13:02 PM by AACOM Government Relations
Engagement and Resources section of AACOM's OME Advocate newsletter.

Register for Joint AOGME/GR Webinar on VA GME Partnerships: On April 5, 2024, from 12:00-1:00 PM ET, AACOM's Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators and Government Relations team will be hosting a webinar to discuss upcoming opportunities for GME expansion funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Join Dr. Ryan Scilla, director of medical and dental education at the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA), as he discusses the role of the OAA and the national scope and impact of VA health professions education. Learn more.

Don’t Miss GR at Educating Leaders 2024: On April 17 – 19, 2024, AACOM is hosting its annual Educating Leaders conference in Kansas City, Missouri. Educating Leaders is the nation’s largest gathering of OME professionals. AACOM’s Government Relations Department is hosting two sessions at the conference, and we invite you to join us to increase your federal policy knowledge about opportunities to expand clinical training sites and ensure DOs have an equitable path to GME.

Applications Now Open for the NHSC Scholarship Program: The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program provides scholarships to health professions students pursuing careers in primary care in exchange for their commitment to serve in high-need, underserved communities. The scholarship covers tuition and eligible fees. Explore the benefits of the NHSC Scholarship Program and join the application virtual Q&A on April 2. Apply by April 25, 2024 at 7:30 PM ET.

Applications Now Open for the NHSC Loan Repayment Programs: Osteopathic physicians who commit to serve in Health Professional Shortage Areas may receive loan repayment through the NHSC Loan Repayment Program (LRP)Substance Use Disorder Workforce LRP and Rural Community LRP. Each program has varying eligibility requirements and award levels. Learn more and apply by May 9, 2024, at 7:30 PM ET.

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