AACOM Joins Health Professions Schools in Opposing ICE Guidance Prohibiting International Students from Online-Only Instruction



July 13, 2020

What You Need to Know


As we enter mid-July, COVID-19 continues to be pervasive, surpassing three million confirmed cases in the United States. Amid this surge, AACOM is supporting federal policies that help advance the health and safety of our frontline health care workers. We have that would promote the mental health of clinicians responding to COVID-19 and investigate clinician burnout and other mental health issues both caused by and predating the pandemic.


Meanwhile, amid the ongoing protests George Floyd’s senseless death, AACOM remains inspired by the thousands of medical students who are fighting racism within their communities. Many of those protestors can and will and we encourage medical students to continue to make their voices heard.


AACOM also stands in solidarity with our students holding nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 visas. As a member of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP), we the guidance issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prohibiting international students from returning to or remaining in the United States if the institutions they attend adopt online-only instruction models during the COVID-19 pandemic.


AACOM remains committed to advocating on behalf of all members of our community as we navigate the deadly effects of racism and COVID-19.


On The Hill

AACOM Endorses Bill to Support Health Care Workers’ Mental Health


Last month, U.S. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), John Katko (R-NY), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL) introduced the Coronavirus Health Care Worker Wellness Act (H.R. 7255), which would provide mental health resources for frontline health care workers and authorize research to investigate the immediate mental health impacts caused by COVID-19, as well as the underlying causes contributing to burnout and other mental health issues experienced by health professionals. AACOM this legislation and more than 50 organizations to support Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s letter calling for enhanced mental health resources for frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

AACOM Joins Letter in Support of GME Funding Bill in COVID-19 Stimulus


AACOM over 60 national health care associations in a letter to congressional leadership urging Congress to include the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (H.R. 1763/S. 348) in the next stimulus package addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. This bipartisan legislation would increase the number of residency positions by 15,000 over five years, giving priority to hospitals in states with new medical schools and supporting students to train and serve in communities of need. This increase in Medicare support for residency training through graduate medical education (GME) would address the impending national physician workforce shortage at a time when the nation is in dire need of more doctors, not only to treat a growing and aging population, but also to respond to public health emergencies like COVID-19. AACOM also previously submitted a to congressional leadership advocating for the inclusion of this bill in the next stimulus package, among other requests, and has individually supported this critical legislation in the and . We encourage members of the osteopathic medical education (OME) community to to support this legislation.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Advances Bill to Increase Health and Higher Education Spending


On July 7, the U.S. House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over funding for health and higher education programs of importance to OME, approved a $221 billion spending package for fiscal year (FY) 2021 that includes $196.5 billion in regular discretionary funding and $24.4 billion in supplemental appropriations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spending bill includes a $716 million increase for the U.S. Department of Education, a $1.5 billion increase for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a $5.5 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The measure is being marked up by the full House Appropriations Committee today, and will likely advance to the House floor. AACOM submitted testimony to and leadership in support of programs of importance to OME and will continue to monitor developments around FY21 appropriations activity.

House Committee Examines COVID-19’s Impact on Higher Education


Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a hearing to examine COVID-19’s impact on the future of higher education. During the , higher education leaders testified on how the pandemic has exacerbated higher education’s existing systemic inequalities, including racial divides, housing and food insecurity, mental health issues, and a lack of technological devices, Internet access, and tech literacy. Witnesses, including leaders of higher education systems, also emphasized the need for additional federal aid across the full spectrum of higher education institutions.




Join AACOM'S AOGME Residents and Fellows Council!

ED to MED Advocates Invited to Join Residents and Fellows Council


Medical resident and fellow physicians are vital to advancing the policy priorities of AACOM’s . As individuals who are beginning to repay their medical student loans, they offer a unique and compelling perspective on the federal policies and programs crucial to addressing medical student debt. To support medical residents and fellow physicians during this important phase of their careers, AACOM’s invites these advocates to , a respected platform that works to in the osteopathic profession.

Medical Student Advocates: Apply Now to Omega Beta Iota


One of ED to MED’s 18 national partner organizations, (OBI), is now accepting applications for its fall 2020 application cycle. OBI, the National Osteopathic Political Action Honor Society, was founded in 2007 to emphasize the importance of the work medical students do for our political system. General membership applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on August 21, 2020. Questions can be directed to OBI National Membership Chair Joshua Berko at .



Administration and Federal Agencies

AACOM Supports CMS Proposed Rule Allowing Flexibility to Displaced Residents


AACOM recently in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) FY21 Inpatient Prospective Payment System . AACOM commented in support of the proposal that would extend flexibility to residents who are displaced as a result of the closure of the hospital or GME program in which those residents are enrolled in an effort to foster continuous funding for Medicare indirect medical education and GME. The CMS proposal would help ensure stability and continuity for both trainees and our nation’s medical residency programs that produce future physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. CMS is expected to issue a final rule later this year, and AACOM will provide updates as the rulemaking process moves forward.

AACOM Opposes ICE Policy Barring Nonimmigrant Students from Online-Only Instruction in the U.S.


On July 6, ICE that for fall 2020, nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending institutions delivering instruction entirely online are prohibited from returning to or remaining in the United States. In response, AACOM joined 17 members of the health professions education community in a FASHP letter and offer international students and institutions the maximum flexibility they need to continue their studies and programs. Federal lawsuits have already been filed to block the directive.


The decision, which does not extend the Administration’s policy adopted during the spring and summer that permitted F and M students to receive expanded online instruction amid COVID-19 challenges, will take effect at the start of a school’s defined fall semester. The policy allows for nonimmigrant students to remain in the United States provided their institution operates normal, in-person classes or a hybrid model, which is defined as a mixture of in-person and online courses. Under the policy, nonimmigrant students will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. Importantly, should an institution change its operational status to online-only mid-semester, or should the nonimmigrant student adjust their course load to online-only, the nonimmigrant student must either leave the United States or take alternative steps, such as transferring to another institution, to maintain their nonimmigrant status.


Institutions enrolling F-1 and M-1 students must adhere to certain Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) reporting requirements and deadlines. Institutions that will operate entirely online or will not reopen for the fall 2020 semester must notify SEVP by July 15. Those institutions offering solely in-person classes, delayed or shortened sessions, or a hybrid model must report operational plans by August 1. ICE is expected to soon publish an interim final rule outlining procedures and responsibilities. For more information, and . AACOM reiterates its and will continue to closely monitor this issue to assess impact on the OME community.

CDC Publishes Interim Considerations for COVID-19 Testing by Higher Education Institutions


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of regarding COVID-19 testing by institutions of higher education (IHEs). While the CDC plans to update as needed, the current testing recommendations for IHEs are offered as part of a broad strategy to combat COVID-19.

HRSA Publishes Updated List of Health Professional Shortage Areas


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with the of geographic areas, population groups, and facilities designated as primary medical care, mental health, and dental health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) as of May 1, 2020. HPSA designation provides potential access to , including scholarship and loan repayment programs administered by the National Health Service Corps. Entities with clinical training sites located within HPSAs are also prioritized for certain residency training grants administered by HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce.

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

Register by July 14 for an ONDCP Webinar on Concurrent Opioid and CNS Depressant Medications: The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is hosting a webinar titled “” on Tuesday, July 21 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST to discuss the risks associated with the co-use of opioids and central nervous system depressants. The webinar will feature ONDCP Director James W. Carroll, JD, and senior federal officials from the NIH, the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, and other federal agencies. Space is limited, and .

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