FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2016 Contact:
Office of Government Relations
Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO, Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, today issued the following statement on the release of the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget.
AACOM is both encouraged and discouraged by the President’s latest budget proposal. While we appreciate the Administration’s support of a strong health care workforce, long-term sustainable funding continues to be a concern for many programs critical to the osteopathic medical education community.
In particular, AACOM strongly applauds the Administration’s support for the continuation of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program in proposing to extend an additional investment of $527 million in mandatory funding for FY 2018 through FY 2020. If implemented, this additional funding would continue the program beyond the end of FY 2017 when it is set to expire. This critical program provides funding to primary care medical and dental residents training in community-based settings. The program not only strengthens the nation’s primary care workforce, but it improves the distribution of the health care workforce in high-need areas such as rural or underserved communities.
While we appreciate the Administration’s recognition of the importance of investing in health care research and in a strong health care workforce through its proposed funding increase to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and a targeted boost to the National Health Service Corps, we have serious concerns with the proposed funding cut of approximately $18 billion to Medicare graduate medical education (GME); the elimination of the Area Health Education Centers Program; and the cap of $57,500 in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. These programs are vital to address the existing physician workforce shortage and to ensure patient access to health care. AACOM believes additional investments in these programs, not cuts, are essential to meet our nation’s evolving health care needs.
AACOM looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress throughout the appropriations process to ensure that the FY 2017 federal budget strengthens and continues to invest in GME, as well as other workforce programs of priority to osteopathic medical education, physicians-in-training, and the larger health care system.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the 31 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 45 teaching locations in 30 states. In the 2015-16 academic year, these colleges are educating over 26,100 future physicians—more than 20 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 25 are private institutions.
AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.