CDC Issues Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Higher Education Institutions


March 9, 2020

What You Need to Know


COVID-19 Emergency Funding Package; Higher Ed's Role in Preventing and Responding to Community Spread


President Trump signed into law an $8.3 billion emergency funding package to combat the spread of . The legislation includes funding for vaccine research and development, therapeutics and diagnostics, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In recognition of the important role that higher education institutions can play in preventing the community spread of COVID-19 and heightened concerns, the CDC has issued interim guidance based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of the disease to help higher education institutions plan, prepare, and respond to the virus. We strongly encourage you to to ensure your institution is prepared to plan for and respond to community spread of COVID-19 while minimizing disruption to teaching and learning and protecting students and staff from social stigma and discrimination. The CDC will update its interim guidance as additional resources become available. Please periodically check the website for updates.


AACOM Office of Government Relations

On The Hill

AACOM Joins Letter in Support of FY21 CDC Funding


As a member of the CDC Coalition, AACOM joined 157 national organizations in a letter to Senate and House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee leadership for the CDC’s programs in fiscal year (FY) 2021. The CDC serves as the nation’s public health defense system against emerging and reemerging infectious diseases and supports public health and prevention activities at the federal, state, and local levels. It plays a crucial role in funding programs for global health security, health promotion in schools, the prevention of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and prescription drug overdose, and other important prevention programs. The CDC Coalition is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations committed to strengthening our nation’s public health infrastructure and prevention programs.

AACOM Joins Letter in Support of FY21 HRSA Funding


AACOM joined 108 national organizations in a Friends of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) letter to House and Senate Appropriations leadership in FY21 discretionary funding for HRSA. HRSA is an essential component of the nation’s health care system and a national leader in improving the health of Americans. It addresses the supply, distribution, and diversity of health professionals; supports training in contemporary practices; and provides quality health services to the nation’s most vulnerable and underserved populations. AACOM is a member of Friends of HRSA, a nonpartisan coalition of nearly 170 national organizations representing public health and health care professionals, academicians, and consumers invested in HRSA’s mission to improve health and achieve health equity.

House Holds Hearing on Substance Use Disorder Legislation


Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing, “Combating an Epidemic: Legislation to Help Patients with Substance Use Disorders,” which focused on the implementation of a to combat the opioid epidemic as well as additional legislation aiming to address substance use disorders. Among the legislation considered during the hearing was the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (H.R. 3414/S. 2892), which AACOM has . The bill aims to combat the nation’s opioid crisis by increasing the number of residency positions available for medical school graduates who are committed to working in addiction medicine and pain management.


Members called for a separate hearing to examine implementation of the 2018 law, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. The package was spearheaded by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, which recently released a 27-bill agenda to tackle issues related to addiction this year. Nine of the bills were considered during the subcommittee hearing, with additional hearings expected to follow.




AACOM’s COSGP Recognizes Female Advocates for Women’s History Month

AACOM’s COSGP Recognizes Female Advocates for Women’s History Month


March is Women’s History Month, and ED to MED is celebrating by honoring and highlighting female advocates and leaders who show their passion for grassroots advocacy and the health professions education community every day. Learn about the who motivate the members of AACOM’s Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents.

ED to MED Advocates Take Action on Leap Day


This February, ED to MED advocates had an extra day to devote to advocacy efforts in support of the federal programs vital to students, health professionals, and patients. Learn how you can maximize your advocacy every day of the year by .



Administration and Federal Agencies

Federal Efforts to Address COVID-19


The Administration and federal agencies are taking measures to address and contain as the number of cases across the country increases. The Administration established the , led by Vice President Mike Pence and , including leading infectious disease health experts. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched a and guidance for with the Higher Education Act Title IV policies for interruptions of study related to COVID-19. Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Robert King is leading ED’s higher education and federal student aid response.


The CDC continues to to discuss the government’s efforts and support the public. Of interest to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community is the recently published and . On March 4, the CDC announced that it would provide an to help state and local governments mitigate the spread of the virus. Additional federal support is forthcoming, following the passage of the $8.3 billion in new emergency spending to combat the virus, which includes $950 million in grants to states and local governments; $826 million to support the development of vaccines, treatments, and tests; and $3.1 billion for medical supplies. AACOM will continue to closely monitor the federal government’s response and inform membership of resources of importance to the OME community.

VA Issues RFP for Latest Round of GME Enhancement


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) has published the of the graduate medical education (GME) expansion, authorized by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014, and is accepting proposals from VA facilities to supplement base resident physician GME positions. VA facilities must be affiliated with an accredited physician resident training program. Importantly, awards for this round are limited to 150 positions, and the RFP outlines certain funding priorities. Members of the OME community that are interested in partnering with the VA are encouraged to thoroughly review the RFP and the for further information. All formal applications are due by May 8 for trainees to begin their training in July 2021. Interested individuals may also review for additional details, webinars, and other resources on .

SCOTUS to Hear Challenge to the ACA


On March 2, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced that it will hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) . The legal challenge centers on whether the 2017 elimination of the individual tax penalty for not having health insurance renders the entire ACA unconstitutional. Although SCOTUS has not set a specific date for the oral argument, it is expected to occur after the new term begins in October, with a decision not likely until later in 2021.

ED Announces Additional Enhancements to FSA Website


ED continues to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website to improve the overall experience for federal student loan borrowers. now includes an aid summary that outlines all federal student aid received and allows borrowers to keep track of their progress towards repaying their loans. The site also launched a loan simulator to provide borrowers with an overview of various repayment options and guide them towards a personalized repayment strategy. Additional updates and tools are expected later this year. These improvements are all part of announced in 2018 with the goal of modernizing and improving customer experience with the federal student aid process.

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

Building the Addiction Physician Workforce Webinar: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10 at 2:00 PM ET, HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, in collaboration with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and other agencies and professional associations, will host a webinar titled, “Building the Addiction Physician Workforce in Health/Treatment Systems.” The webinar will feature federal officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the ONDCP, as well as addiction medicine leaders, who will discuss the need to expand the addiction medicine workforce and establish new fellowship opportunities, and how medical schools and community health centers can integrate these efforts into their workforce. .

Reminder: Apply by March 13 for NIH Funding to Research Intersection of Opioid Use and Pain Management: Investigators with active grants in the area of chronic pain and/or addiction are encouraged to apply for the Notice of Special Interest for research on . Awardees will operate within , a part of .

AHRQ Toolkit for Chronic Pain Management in Primary Care: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality updated its to guide primary care teams as they implement the evidence-based approach of the program for their patients who use opioid therapy for chronic pain. The guide is specifically written for quality improvement personnel and project managers, but its materials may be used by anyone implementing improvements in opioid management.

Pictured left: U.S. Representative Torres Small with Don Peska, DO, BCOM Dean and Chief Academic Officer. Pictured Right: BCOM medical students meeting with Rep. Torres Small.

Pictured left: U.S. Representative Torres Small with Don Peska, DO, BCOM Dean and Chief Academic Officer. Pictured Right: BCOM medical students meeting with Rep. Torres Small.

U.S. Representative Torres Small Visits BCOM, Recommits to Expanding GME: On Thursday, February 20, U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) visited the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Rep. Torres Small received a tour of the medical school and met one-on-one with Don Peska, DO, the college’s dean and chief academic officer.


Torres Small was introduced to medical students currently attending Burrell College, several of whom are interested in practicing medicine in the state of New Mexico but who are having trouble finding GME opportunities.


“It was inspiring to meet hardworking medical students who are passionate about the health of their neighbors,” said Rep. Torres Small. “Meeting with these doctors-in-training reinforced my commitment to expanding residency opportunities regionally in central and southern New Mexico. It’s why I remain dedicated to working with anyone—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—to address our shared challenges and continue to advocate for the passage of one of my first bills, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act.”

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