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Join Us on October 7 for AACOM’s OME Day of Action

 
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July 27, 2020

What You Need to Know

 

As COVID-19 continues to threaten the health of our nation, Congress is working to pass another relief package to help address the wide-ranging challenges wrought by the pandemic. AACOM has requested that Congress to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community in this bill to help alleviate the significant burdens the pandemic has caused. AACOM has also joined the Teaching Health Center (THC) Coalition to of reauthorizing the vital Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program in the next federal COVID-19 aid package. Meanwhile, Congress is also negotiating its annual spending bills, and discussions will resume in the fall following the congressional August recess.

 

AACOM remains committed to ensuring that OME is well-represented by federal policies and programs, and urges you to raise your voice on October 7 for AACOM’s OME Day of Action, a virtual advocacy event open to all members of the OME community. We hope you save the date and join us to take action!

On The Hill

Senate Republicans and White House Introduce COVID-19 Stimulus Bills

 

Today, Senate Republicans and the Trump Administration released their next COVID-19 aid proposal, which came in the form of several bills addressing the ongoing health care and economic crisis. The proposed legislation includes a new round of stimulus checks, but with lower income restrictions; $29 billion for higher education institutions; liability protections for schools, health care providers, non-profits, and businesses; additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program; $16 billion in new funds for state testing, contact tracing, and surveillance; $15.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health; $26 billion for vaccine research and distribution; $4.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; tax deductions for purchases of testing, personal protective equipment, and other supplies; and a provision to provide flexibility for the use of state aid.

 

The COVID-19 relief bills would top $1 trillion in total, far short of the $3 trillion by House Democrats in May. With the House expected to break for the August recess at the end of this week, Democrats and Republicans have little time remaining for negotiations and still remain far apart on a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on this next COVID-19 aid package. AACOM will continue to update its membership on provisions of importance to the OME community included in the final bill.

AACOM Joins Letter to Support THCGME Reauthorization in COVID-19 Stimulus

 

AACOM six national organizations in a letter to congressional leadership urging Congress to include long-term reauthorization of the THCGME Program in the next stimulus package addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (P.L. 116-136) that passed in March provided a short-term extension for THCGME funding, the program will expire after November 30, 2020 without further action. Prior to COVID-19, THCs faced uncertain federal funding over the years due to the repeated lack of a long-term reauthorization. Significant financial losses caused by COVID-19 continue to threaten THCs’ stability and their ability to train the next generation of health professionals who care for rural and medically underserved communities. As a member of the THC Coalition, AACOM has the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2019 (H.R. 2815/S. 1191) and urges Congress to include the bill’s five-year extension in the upcoming COVID-19 emergency aid package. Contact your Members of Congress to for expanding THCGME.

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

 

On July 13, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed its fiscal year (FY) 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) spending bill. The $221 billion package, which includes funding for health and higher education programs of importance to OME, provides $196.5 billion in regular discretionary funding and $24.4 billion in supplemental appropriations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is expected to advance to the House floor this week as part of a “minibus,” or package of multiple spending measures. Although the House is on track to pass almost all of its FY21 appropriations bills by the end of the month, the Senate has not yet introduced any. AACOM submitted testimony to and Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittees in support of funding for programs of importance to OME, including funding for health professions education programs, the THCGME Program, and the National Health Service Corps, and will continue to monitor developments around FY21 appropriations activity.

Congressional Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force Identifies Policy Areas of Focus

 

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee leadership and co-chairs of the committee’s Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force released a to the task force’s November 2019 request for information (RFI) regarding priority topics that affect the health status and outcomes for populations living in rural and underserved communities. The task force identified four policy areas of focus for the future, including health workforce improvements, one of the primary topics addressed in AACOM’s to the RFI last year. AACOM looks forward to our continued work with the task force to develop and implement policies and programs to build a health care system that better enables osteopathic physicians to deliver the necessary care to meet the needs of our nation’s underserved patient populations.

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Advocacy

Save the Date for AACOM’s OME Day of Action on October 7

 

Every year, AACOM hosts COM Day on Capitol Hill, a national event for AACOM membership to meet with Members of Congress and advocate for federal policies and programs vital to OME. AACOM will be transitioning this year’s annual COM Day on Capitol Hill to an all-virtual event, AACOM’s OME Day of Action, to be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. All members of the OME community are invited to participate in this important virtual advocacy event. Registration information and more details are forthcoming. Please save the date, and join us on October 7 as we raise our voices together to elevate OME and continue to ensure that our community is strongly supported by federal policies and programs.

ED to MED Summer Reading: AACOM GR’s Blog Post Picks

 

During this summer like no other, the AACOM community is even more inspired by the many ED to MED advocates who have shared their stories as guest authors for our ED to MED blog. Whether learning how to advocate for wellness in these trying times, understanding the importance of serving underserved patients, or preparing for the upcoming election, be sure to add these top campaign blog posts to your .

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Administration and Federal Agencies

Update: ICE Rescinds Controversial Policy Barring Nonimmigrant Students from Online-Only Instruction in the U.S.

 

On July 14, the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rescinded its prohibiting nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending institutions delivering instruction entirely online from returning to or remaining in the United States. AACOM joined 17 members of the health professions education community in a Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions letter on July 10 . ICE issued the rescission just before the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts was set to hear a complaint filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On July 24, ICE released , which confirmed that nonimmigrant students could remain in the United States if they attended an online-only program. According to the FAQ, new nonimmigrant students intending to pursue an online-only course of study would not be able to obtain an F-1 or M-1 visa to study in the United States. AACOM will continue to closely monitor any further action on this issue and advocate on behalf of the OME community.

Administration Publishes Spring 2020 Regulatory Agenda

 

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs released its . The Agenda reports on planned actions that administrative agencies plan to issue in the near and long term, including items of importance to OME, such as distance education and innovation for higher education. Also included are new deregulatory actions, as well as the withdrawal and reconsideration of other regulatory actions. The Agenda reflects the Administration’s following regulatory reform priorities: advancing regulatory reform, public notice of regulatory development, transparency, and consistent practice across the federal government.

Reminder: Title IX Final Rule Takes Effect on August 14

 

Released on May 6, the U.S. Department of Education’s governs what constitutes sexual harassment and assault under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and how schools must respond to reported incidents within their educational programs and activities. While there are multiple legal challenges to the regulations, including one complaint brought by 18 attorneys general, the regulations currently stand to take effect August 14 and carry the full weight of law. Last month, AACOM facilitated a member-exclusive webinar to outline the new regulations and address what colleges of osteopathic medicine must do to comply with the new Title IX requirements. Please view the webinar and for more information.

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

CDC COVID-19 Partner Update on Keeping Students Safe: On July 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted a call for community stakeholders to share updates on the CDC’s COVID-19 response and review the CDC’s interim guidance and testing considerations for institutes of higher education. a recording of the partner call and to the CDC’s COVID-19 Partner Update newsletter to receive information on the weekly discussions.

HHS Hosts 10-Week Telemedicine Learning Community: Due to the growing telemedicine needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has partnered with the ECHO Institute at the University of New Mexico and the Public Health Foundation’s TRAIN Learning Network to deliver Telemedicine Hack, a 10-week, virtual learning community. The Telemedicine Hack will include five sessions highlighting key topics such as billing, documentation, and clinical best practices, as well as virtual office hours and facilitated peer-to-peer learning. Continuing medical education credit and continuing education units are available at no cost for attending. .

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting office hours on Tuesday, July 28 from 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST. CMS office hours provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and health professionals to ask agency officials questions and receive guidance on CMS’ COVID-19 policies. Interested attendees can dial in at 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1492795. .

For Clinicians: COVID-19 Lessons from the Front Lines: CMS regularly hosts “Lessons from the Front Lines,” a call to offer physicians and other clinicians the opportunity to share their experiences, ideas, and strategies to address the COVID-19 response. The call is a bi-weekly, joint effort between the CMS Administrator Seema Verma, the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Join the next call on Friday, August 7, from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM EST. .

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