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March 21, 2022

AACOM in Action

What You Need to Know

Congress Highlights Need to Expand Osteopathic Research at NIH

 

AACOM achieved a pivotal victory as part of our multidimensional strategy to increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for osteopathic medical schools. The fiscal year 2022 (FY22) omnibus spending bill acknowledges the benefit of osteopathic research and requires the NIH to report on the status of NIH funding for colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) and the representation of DOs on NIH national advisory councils and study sections. The report language will serve notice to NIH that Congress is dissatisfied with the status quo and wants greater osteopathic medical funding and representation.

COMs are critically underfunded by the NIH, despite educating a quarter of U.S. physicians. The congressional report language states that “increased access to research funding for the osteopathic profession will significantly bolster NIH's capacity to support robust recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, address health disparities in rural and medically underserved populations and advance research in primary care, prevention and treatment.”

The appropriations language is a direct result of coordinated advocacy across the osteopathic community, including more than a hundred congressional meetings, dozens of COM support letters and persistent grassroots advocacy. Thank you to our deans, students, faculty and all members of the osteopathic community for helping us achieve this success. While this achievement will not end the problem, it will hopefully put the profession on a pathway to future equality. AACOM will continue to lead on this important issue until there is parity in NIH research funding.

AACOM Advocates

 

Raise Your Voice to Stop DO Bias and Discrimination in GME

Join the OME community in urging Congress to ensure all residency programs are open to DO graduates. Medicare accounts for 71 percent of all graduate medical education (GME) funding. Yet, one-third of Medicare GME programs impose restrictive, costly and burdensome requirements on DO students applying to residency. The 2021 National Resident Matching Program survey revealed that no less than nine percent of residency programs said they never interview DOs, and another 27 percent said they seldom do. These statistics exacerbate workforce shortages and reinforce the need for systemic change. Congress must pass legislation that prohibits residency programs receiving federal GME funding from discriminating against DOs.

Policy Update

OME Priorities Included in Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Funding Package

 

  • On March 11, Congress approved the $1.5 trillion omnibus appropriations package to fund the government through September 30, 2022. The legislation also includes supplemental funding that will provide $13.6 billion to support Ukraine, as well as several policy provisions important to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community.
  • The funding package would boost non-defense spending by 6.7 percent and defense funds by 5.6 percent. It’s the first omnibus to include earmarks since they were banned in 2011.
  • Many OME priority programs received increased funding over last year's levels, including:

For a more comprehensive breakdown and analysis, .

Senate HELP Committee Passes Pandemic Preparedness Bill

  • On March 15, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a markup of the PREVENT Pandemics Act and passed it out of committee by a vote of 20-2.
  • The legislation includes funding for revitalizing the public health workforce, addressing the social determinants of health and ensuring continued access to substance use disorder treatments during future public health emergencies. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
  • for more information (excludes amendments added during markup).

Comment Deadline Approaching for VA GME Pilot Program

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a proposed rule to implement a new GME pilot program.
  • The pilot program will establish additional medical residency positions, enable the VA to fund residents in non-VA facilities and pay for certain costs of new residency programs. The proposed rule also details the VA’s plan to administer the program and outlines covered facilities, costs and other requirements for participation.
  • Public comments are due April 5, 2022. to learn more.

ED Negotiating Committee Reaches Consensus on 90/10 Rule

  • The U.S. Department of Education (ED)’s failed to reach agreement on five of the seven regulatory issues impacting higher education and Title IV federal financial aid.
  • Since the committee , ED will prepare regulations based upon the agreed language. More information is forthcoming about impact to osteopathic medical schools.
  • The committee failed to reach consensus on changes to , which would impact existing state reciprocity agreements and clinical rotations conducted outside a COM’s state, and regulations.
  • ED will now publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register and solicit public comments. The NPRM is expected this summer.

Engagement and Resources

Osteopathic Medical Students – Apply Now for 2022 NHSC Scholarship Program: Eligible osteopathic medical students may now apply to the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program to receive funds to cover tuition, fees and other educational expenses in exchange for a commitment to serve in high need, underserved communities. Applications are due on May 5, 2022. .

Apply for New CMS GME Slots by March 31: View an AACOM webinar that reviews the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services related to GME funding and the distribution of 1,000 new GME slots. Eligible hospitals for these new GME slots by March 31, 2022.

Deadline Approaching for THCGME Funding: Two Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) award types are available to support primary care residency training programs in community-based ambulatory patient care centers. Eligible applicants may apply to expand resident full-time equivalent (FTE) positions at existing THCGME Programs, or to support new resident FTE positions at new Teaching Health Centers. For questions, see the THCGME and . .

Teaching Hospital DGME Resets: Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, hospitals with very low direct GME per resident amounts (PRAs) or resident caps may reset them if they train the required number of residents after December 27, 2020, or start a new residency program between December 27, 2020 and December 26, 2025. if your hospital is eligible for a new PRA and resident cap.

Talent Bank Reminder: It only takes a few minutes to complete your leadership profile in AACOM's Talent Bank. Join a network of individuals dedicated to furthering the presence of OME. Your registration does not obligate you to serve in a particular role. AACOM will seek your approval of any specific positions prior to nomination or referral. .

Noorda-COM Advocates at the Utah State Legislature: Students and administrators from the Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) recently spent a day at the Utah State Capitol. The event gave Noorda-COM students an opportunity to share information about the college with key legislative leaders and allowed them to witness the legislative process in action. Students expressed their support for House Bill 295, which would provide state funding to create new and expand existing medical residency programs in Utah. The bill successfully passed the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. Read more on .

ICOM Students Engage in State-Level Advocacy: Student doctors at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) connected with Idaho legislators during the college’s third annual “ICOM Day at the Capitol” event on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. ICOM President Dr. Tracy Farnsworth and ICOM Dean Dr. Thomas Mohr joined the students at the statehouse. Organized by ICOM’s chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, the group spoke with legislators from around the Gem State about GME, healthcare issues and Idaho’s chronic physician shortage. .

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