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April 5, 2021

What You Need to Know

 

AACOM strongly endorses the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021, which would add 2,000 federally supported medical residency positions annually for seven years, helping ensure that our osteopathic medical school graduates can access the training they need to become practicing physicians. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the urgency of addressing our nation’s physician shortage and expanding patient access to care. Join us in to pass this vital legislation.

On The Hill

AACOM, GME Advocacy Coalition Endorse GME Expansion Bill

 

AACOM the bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021 (H.R. 2256) that would help address the nation’s physician shortage by adding 14,000 Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) positions over seven years. Reintroduced by US Representatives Terri Sewell (D-AL), John Katko (R-NY), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) as a companion bill to the , this legislation included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. H.R. 2256 gives priority to hospitals in rural and medically underserved areas, hospitals in states with new medical schools and hospitals already training over their caps. AACOM 84 national health organizations as part of the GME Advocacy Coalition in support of this important legislation, and this bill in the 116th Congress.

AACOM Joins HPNEC to Urge Double the Funding for Health Workforce Training Programs

 

AACOM the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) to urge Congress to provide $1.51 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2022 for the Health Resources and Services Administrations (HRSA) Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs. The request is double the funding provided in FY21. Increased funding is critical as HRSA grantees have faced unexpected costs to pivot their curriculum, provide personal protective equipment and offer innovative models of care due to COVID-19. AACOM, and the other 93 national organizations of HPNEC, represent schools, programs, communities, health professionals and students dedicated to ensuring the healthcare workforce is trained to meet the needs of the evolving health needs of the country.

AACOM Joins Effort to Support Equity in COVID-19 Relief Funding

 

AACOM over 70 national organizations, including the Trust for America’s Health, American Public Health Association, and Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, urging US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky to direct COVID-19 relief funding to communities hardest hit by the pandemic. The letter encourages HHS to build upon investments through the American Relief Plan and promote equity among population groups that lack the infrastructure and resources to achieve an equitable response to the pandemic.

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Administration and Federal Agencies

Applications Open for NHSC 2021 Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs

 

Osteopathic medical students may now apply to the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program (SP) for the 2021-2022 school year. The awards funds to students pursuing primary healthcare professions training in NHSC-eligible disciplines in exchange for their commitment to serve in high-need, underserved communities. Applications are due Tuesday, May 11 at 7:30 PM ET. More information can be found in the and . Applicants may also attend an application webinar on April 6 from 1:00-2:30 PM ET.

 

Osteopathic clinicians who want to serve in Health Professional Shortage Areas may also receive through the NHSC Loan Repayment Program (LRP), Substance Use Disorder Workforce LRP and Rural Community LRP in exchange for providing care to patients in these underserved areas. Applications are due May 6 at 7:30 PM ET, and eligible applicants are encouraged to review the for each program.

 

AACOM continues to advocate for the sustainability of NHSC programs, which recruit and retain physicians in locations where shortages are most severe.

Administration Rolls Out Infrastructure Plan

 

On March 31, President Biden unveiled the —a $2 trillion investment to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and create millions of jobs. Among other provisions, the first part of the plan includes $180 billion to expand research and development, including investing in researchers, laboratories and universities. The President also proposes $100 billion for high-speed broadband deployment across this country to help ensure everyone has access to affordable and reliable broadband service. The White House is expected to release the second phase of the plan mid-April, which will likely focus on an expansion of social welfare programs. AACOM will engage Congress and the Administration and continue to update membership on provisions of importance to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community as the plan moves forward.

ED Announces Additional Grants to IHEs in Response to COVID-19

 

The US Department of Education (ED) announced an April 28, 2021 application deadline for new grants to institutions of higher education (IHEs) through the Supplemental Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education (SAIHE) Program, authorized under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA). Approximately $113.5 million is available under the SAIHE Program for public and private nonprofit institutions, including colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs), that have the greatest unmet needs related to COVID-19. This includes eligible institutions with high percentages of graduate students and institutions that did not otherwise receive an allocation under CRRSAA. ED will allocate SAIHE grants among seven absolute priorities, including to institutions at which graduate students comprise at least 90 percent of their student population. .

Administration Offers Flexibility for Emergency Relief Funds

 

As IHEs, including COMs, continue to disburse funds associated with the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund under the CRRSAA, ED recently offered more flexibility on the use and timing of funds, and . The Internal Revenue Service also recently issued frequently asked questions relating to the reporting of pandemic-related grants, including a reminder to students that COVID-19 aid is not treated as taxable income. and check with a financial professional if you have any further questions.

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Advocate!

 

to sign on to the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which aims to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals.

 

to support the Improving Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas Act, which would support continuing medical education for primary care physicians, especially in rural and medically underserved areas.

Engagement and Resources

You Are Invited: A Webinar on What’s Next for Healthcare: You are invited to an April 13 webinar, hosted by leaders at Venable LLP, to discuss healthcare priorities in the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress. Register and .

NIH Offers Grants to Develop Diverse Pool of Clinician-Scientists: The Medical Scientist Training Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides support to eligible domestic institutions to integrate dual-degree training—including DO and PhD—to develop highly trained clinician-scientists to meet the nation’s biomedical research needs. Applications are due on May 25. .

MSUCOM Researcher Awarded NIH Grant to Study How Unknown Genes Contribute to Cholera Pandemics: Chris Waters, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, is leading a $2.8 million NIH study aimed at uncovering the genetics behind a six-decade long cholera pandemic. Through the investigation, Waters and his co-researchers hope to increase understanding of how bacterial pandemics arise and enhance development of new viral therapies to treat other antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. .

Deadline Extended: Apply by April 15 for AACOM’s Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship: Develop the skills you need to analyze, formulate and implement health policy on the local, state and national levels. for AACOM’s Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship, a prestigious, year-long leadership training program for osteopathic physicians and other associated health professionals.

Connect with AACOM on Social Media: AACOM is in the process of consolidating our social media accounts to ensure all members of the OME community are receiving the news and updates they need to remain informed and engaged. Please connect with us on , , and to continue receiving and engaging with posts related to advocacy and policy, as well as other key association updates that you as a valued member of the OME community need to know.

Visit AACOM's for federal grants of interest to osteopathic medical education.

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