Biden Unveils American Families Plan


May 3, 2021

What You Need to Know


On April 28, President Biden addressed a joint session of Congress and for the first time in history, two women—Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—held positions of prominence on the dais. Biden spent much of the address outlining his , a $1.8 trillion proposal focused largely on expanding access to education and child care. Among other provisions, the plan would help families cover basic expenses, lower health insurance premiums, make college more affordable, close equity gaps and continue temporary measures enacted through the to reduce child poverty. The proposal follows the Biden Administration’s infrastructure plan, the , announced in March.

On The Hill

AACOM Endorses GME Expansion Bill to Address Substance Use Disorder Crisis


AACOM strongly the bipartisan Opioid Workforce Act of 2021 (S. 1438), which would help combat the addiction crisis and address the nation’s physician shortage by increasing the number of physicians treating patients with substance use disorders. Reintroduced by US Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME), S. 1438 would add 1,000 Medicare-funded residency positions over five years at hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, approved residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry or pain medicine. AACOM this legislation in the 116th Congress.

Community Project Funding Restored by Senate Appropriations Committee


Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last week that the committee will allow senators to request funding for Community Projects (also referred to as earmarks) for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The announcement follows a underway in the House. Senators may submit requests for Community Project funding on behalf of state and local governments and eligible nonprofits to meet the needs of a community and must adhere to strict funding and engagement parameters. Additional guidance on the Senate process is forthcoming. While Senate Republicans agreed to a symbolic ban on earmarks, the agreement is nonbinding, and several GOP senators are likely to request funding through this process. Members of the osteopathic medical education (OME) community are encouraged to consider a request for funding (i.e., infrastructure funding for research). Please notify AACOM GR at if you or your institution plans to submit a Community Project funding request to your Member of Congress.

Understanding the Higher Education Policy Landscape: An Update on Federal Student Aid and Loan Relief


Federal policymakers have amplified their focus on higher education reform as affordability remains a concern for American families. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated many Americans’ struggles with paying down their student loans. Updates to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA)—the federal law that authorizes the primary sources of direct federal support to postsecondary students, including the federal student loan and grant programs—are long overdue. Although Congress last reauthorized the HEA in 2008, it is unlikely that comprehensive legislation will pass in the 117th Congress. Nevertheless, there are numerous recent developments in the higher education space, including several COVID-relief bills, student loan repayment relief, and legislative proposals aimed at making college more affordable and helping borrowers manage debt.


AACOM is actively engaged in efforts to make postsecondary education more affordable for osteopathic medical students. We will continue to advocate for federal policies that support OME, including the preservation of the Grad PLUS and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs. For more information, please  summarizing recent efforts and developing initiatives that affect higher education.



Administration and Federal Agencies

CMS Issues Proposed Rule to Implement New GME Slots; Updates COVID-Related IME Policies


The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the . Importantly, the rule includes proposed implementation measures for the approved in the FY21 omnibus package. These provisions include creating 1,000 new residency training slots for teaching hospitals, addressing the resident rotator issue and easing rural training track requirements. Of the 1,000 new GME slots, 10 percent must be reserved for rural areas. A detailed analysis of the GME sections is forthcoming. Comments are due by 5:00 PM ET on June 28, and AACOM encourages its members to notify of plans to comment.


Additionally, CMS recently requested approval for proposed amendments to the hospital cost reporting form and instructions regarding COVID-related indirect medical education (IME) bed counting rules. The draft instructions indicate that temporary expansions of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) acute care bed days will be excluded from the calculation of hospital inpatient bed days. These proposed amendments are in response to an April 30, 2020 rule change that allowed teaching hospitals to increase their number of available beds to address the COVID-19 PHE without reducing the hospital’s IME payments.

HRSA Announces FY21 Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance Program


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications through May 21 for the FY21 Rural Residency Planning and Development Technical Assistance Program (RRPD-TA). Administered by the Office for Rural Health Policy, and in consultation with the Bureau of Health Workforce, this collaborative agreement provides technical assistance to HRSA’s RRPD Program award recipients to support the creation of new rural residency programs to expand the number of physicians practicing in rural areas. Eligible applicants can watch a recorded webinar for further information. .

HHS Releases New Buprenorphine Practice Guidelines


The Biden Administration issued on April 27. The guidelines relax requirements for prescribing the drug in treatment of opioid addiction and exempt physicians and other health professionals from the federal certification requirements related to training, counseling and ancillary services required to obtain a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine. AACOM will continue to work with the OME community to engage the Administration and Congress on ways to tackle the .

GAO Report Finds Programs and Residents Increased with Transition to Single GME


On April 13, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the transition to a single GME accreditor. Under the single accreditation system, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education serves as the nation’s sole accreditor for both osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) residencies and fellowships. GAO found that the number of GME programs and the number of residents in those programs increased during the transition, which began in 2015. The composition and geographic distribution of programs and residents were largely unchanged. .

Distance Learning Guidance Extended for International Students


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that for the 2021 – 2022 academic year, students and institutions should continue to follow March 2020 guidance for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. According to this policy, international students holding F-1 and M-1 visas who were not actively enrolled as of March 9, 2020 may not enter the US if they are enrolled solely in distance learning courses. New F-1 and M-1 students may enter the US to take hybrid programs that include an in-person learning component. .





to sign on to the Opioid Workforce Act of 2021, which aims to increase the number of physicians treating patients with substance use disorders by creating 1,000 new Medicare-supported residency positions over five years.

Engagement and Resources

AACOM Restructures Advocacy COM Rep Chart: To streamline advocacy tools for our membership, AACOM recently restructured its college of osteopathic medicine (COM) congressional representation chart. This newly designed chart includes a map of COM locations and an interactive list of schools and congressional representation. .

Deadline Extended for 2021 NHSC Loan Repayment Programs: HRSA has extended the application deadline for the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) Loan Repayment Programs to May 27 at 7:30 PM EDT. Osteopathic clinicians may join a Q&A session on either Tuesday, May 4 or Thursday, May 20 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET. Eligible osteopathic medical students are reminded that applications for the NHSC Scholarship Program are due by May 11 at 7:30 PM ET. Learn more about and Programs.

Grant Opportunity for Health Equity Research: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced a June 16, 2021 submission deadline for their Health Equity Scholars for Action grants. These grants support the career development and academic advancement of researchers from historically underrepresented backgrounds in health equity research. A webinar with additional information is scheduled for May 4, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET. .

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

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