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January 9, 2023

AACOM in Action

What You Need to Know

118th Congress Convenes

 

A divided 118th Congress officially gaveled in at noon on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 with Democrats maintaining control of the Senate and Republicans assuming a narrow majority in the House. In the Senate, opening business comprised the swearing-in of Senators-elect and the election of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) as president pro tempore, putting her third in line for the presidency. She is the first woman to hold that position in U.S. history. Following these ceremonial activities, the Senate adjourned until January 23.

 

Although the House also opened for session last week, the chamber took a tumultuous four days and 15 votes to elect a Speaker of the House, which postponed member swear-ins and other legislative business. Around midnight on Friday, January 6, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) secured the 216 votes needed to win. McCarthy’s 14 back-to-back losses mark the first time since 1923 that a House speaker wasn’t elected on the first ballot. The House returns to business today at 5:00 PM ET to adopt the rules of the 118th Congress, which include concessions to conservative members. Significant changes include allowing one member to force a speaker recall vote, the elimination of proxy voting and remote committee proceedings, adopting budget procedures aimed at restricting mandatory spending increases and repealing collective bargaining rules adopted last year.

 

The controversy in the House may portend challenges in advancing an agenda in that chamber, leaving the Senate with more opportunity for deal-making on key legislative issues. AACOM will continue to aggressively work to advance our priorities in this new environment, including advocating for the Fair Access in Residency (FAIR) Act, increasing National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs), renewing authorization for Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education funding set to expire in September 2023 and many others.

AACOM Advocates

Advocate in the New Year – COM Representation for the 118th Congress

The 118th Congress is now in session and it’s the perfect time to recommit to your advocacy goals. To support your efforts, AACOM released an updated listing the Representative and Senators for each COM location. We encourage our advocates to use this resource and the to contact your lawmakers in support of osteopathic priorities. We also encourage more frequent engagement with your Members of Congress. The AACOM Government Relations team is happy to work with you to set up meetings and develop relationships with your House and Senate members. The new session presents a great opportunity to reach out to new members and strengthen relationships with existing ones. If interested, please contact us at .

Policy Update

President Biden Signs Omnibus Spending Bill, Elevating Many OME Priorities

 

  • On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, P.L 117-328, which acknowledged the need for osteopathic manipulative treatment to address veteran pain, the benefit of osteopathic research at the NIH and the urgency to add 200 new specialty residency slots to address workforce shortages in behavioral and mental health.
  • These were the culmination of months of coordinated advocacy.
  • AACOM also advocated for the increases in funding for , including:
    • $47.5 billion, a 5.6 percent increase, for the NIH
    • $579.3 million, a 10.5 percent increase, for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII Health Professions Programs
    • $125.6 million, a 3.3 percent increase, for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
  • The spending bill also provided historic of $5.1 billion for the Indian Health Service (IHS) in fiscal year (FY) 2024. AACOM for this important budget tool because the IHS receives most of its funding through annual appropriations, and prolonged delays in enacting spending bills can upend the delivery of healthcare services to 2.5 million Native Americans. The bill also includes:
    • Rural Demonstration Program – $10 million within NHSC to conduct a pilot program to evaluate the benefit to patient access and practitioner recruitment and retention of extending loan repayment for five years and $200,000 for providers serving in a rural Health Professional Service Area.
    • Rural Health Residency Program – $12.7 million to fund physician residency training programs that support physician workforce expansion in rural areas.
    • Student Financial Assistance – $24.6 billion for federal student aid programs, including $1.2 billion for Federal Work Study, an increase of $20 million above the FY22 enacted level.
    • Improving the Quality of Life in Tinnitus Management by Veterans – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraged to work with academic partners, as appropriate, to address and improve the outcomes for veterans experiencing problematic tinnitus. VA is encouraged to consider academic institution factors such as proximity to operational military bases, the presence of Nurse Practitioner/Doctor of Nursing Practice/Doctorate programs and the presence of Osteopathic Medicine and Engineering programs.
    • Medical School Affiliations – The Committee encourages the Veterans Health Administration and the Office of Academic Affiliations to further align academic partnerships with training opportunities and patient needs of veterans in surrounding communities.
    • Indian Health Professions – $80.5 million for Indian health professions, which includes an additional $5 million for the loan repayment program.
  • For a more comprehensive breakdown and analysis of the spending bill, .

NIH Seeks Public Input on Proposed Changes to Grant Review Process

 

  • The NIH has issued a on its proposal to revise its peer review framework for research project grant applications. NIH intends to change or eliminate scoring of certain criteria to reduce bias and the influence of an investigator or institution.
  • AACOM maintains concerns about the disparity in NIH funding for COMs, and through our collective advocacy, Congress acknowledged the benefits of osteopathic research and directed NIH to report back on the status of NIH funding for COMs.
  • AACOM encourages COMs to submit recommendations for improving the NIH peer review process and increasing funding for osteopathic research. NIH is accepting public comments through March 10, 2023. Please share your comments or suggestions with AACOM at .

ED Announces Federal Programs Included in 90/10 Rule Calculation

 

  • On December 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in the Federal Register listing the federal programs and funds that for-profit institutions of higher education must count as federal revenue as part of the 90/10 Rule.
  • The 90/10 Rule, which was implemented as part of the American Rescue Plan and , requires for-profit institutions of higher education to receive at least 10 percent of their revenue from non-federal sources.
  • Notable programs added to federally sourced revenue through the notice are the NHSC Scholarship Program, Indian Health Professions Scholarship Program, Army/Navy/Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program and Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students.

ED Regulatory Agenda Signals New Negotiated Rulemaking Sessions

 

  • On January 4, 2023, ED announced that it would hold a series of later this year on several higher-education topics including state authorization, distance education, student loan deferments, accreditation and other related issues.
  • AACOM plans to weigh in, and will notify the OME community about session announcements and stakeholder engagement opportunities.

Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court to Uphold Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

 

  • On January 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice to two court challenges to the student loan forgiveness plan and urged the Justices to reject those claims.
  • The filing stipulates that the Secretary of Education has the authority to cancel borrower debts due to national emergencies.
  • Oral arguments will be heard on February 28, 2023.

Engagement and Resources

Osteopathic Medical Students: Reminder to Apply for the 2023-24 Osteopathic Health Policy Internship: AACOM is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024 , a unique eight-week virtual internship for osteopathic medical students. Each OHPI will gain first-hand experience working virtually at the national level where they will be immersed in health and higher education policy development, analysis and implementation. Interns will actively participate in building support for AACOM’s policy priorities, including the FAIR Act, increasing NIH funding for osteopathic researchers and more. Applications are due Friday, February 17, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET. .

HRSA Seeks Public Input on Healthy Start Initiative Program Development: HRSA recently issued a on the design, implementation and evaluation of the Healthy Start program. Healthy Start is a community-based program dedicated to reducing disparities in maternal and infant health. HRSA funds 101 Healthy Start grantees toward that goal. Comments are being accepted through February 3, 2023. Please let us know at if you or your organization plan to comment.

Funding Opportunity: Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals Program: HRSA is awarding up to $800,000 for the Targeted Technical Assistance for Rural Hospitals Program to improve healthcare in rural areas by providing targeted, in-depth technical assistance to rural hospitals within communities struggling to maintain healthcare services. The recipient will work with individual hospitals to address challenges to sustaining access to essential healthcare services, understand community health needs and resources and find ways to ensure communities can keep needed care locally, whether it is with a more limited set of services provided by the hospital, or by exploring other mechanisms for meeting community healthcare needs. .

Applications Now Open for the Learning Health System Embedded Scientist Training and Research Centers Grant: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute invite applications from qualified institutions to create Learning Health System Embedded Scientist Training and Research Centers to support the professional development of scientists to conduct research that accelerates progress towards an integrated learning health system. Letters of intent are due by February 10, 2023, and applications are due by March 24, 2023. .

HRSA Loan Programs for Osteopathic Medical Schools: HRSA offers four different loan programs for schools, including Health Professions Student Loans, Loans for Disadvantaged Students, Nursing Student Loans and Primary Care Loans. The 2023 application cycle is now open. about each program’s eligibility criteria and application process, and attend a on January 17, 2023 at 12:00 PM ET.

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

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