COVID-19 Stimulus Negotiations Ongoing, AACOM’s Analysis on ED Final Rules



October 19, 2020

What You Need to Know


AACOM Virtual Day of Action

On October 7, hundreds of advocates played a critical role in the AACOM Virtual Day of Action. You tweeted, videotaped, and told your personal stories, sending over 300 messages to Congress in support of federal policies and programs vital to the future of osteopathic medical education (OME). It’s because of you that we were able to , but our work is not done. We encourage you to remain engaged and involved, and if you were unable to join us, it’s not too late to advocate! You can visit our to connect with Congress in five minutes or less, use our to share your personal experiences, and download our to continue the conversation to #ElevateOME. And there’s no more effective way to be an advocate than to ! Thank you for sharing your voice!

On The Hill

Update on COVID-19 Stimulus Negotiations


This week, the Senate is expected to take up a narrow, roughly $500 billion Republican COVID-19 aid package. Similar to a previous version , the bill would offer money for unemployment insurance as well as new Paycheck Protection Program funding for small businesses. Pertinent OME provisions include funding for schools and hospitals, in addition to liability protections for businesses, schools, and healthcare providers. AACOM strongly urges Congress to support more targeted measures to help address current and future challenges faced by our osteopathic medical schools, students, residents, educators, and the larger healthcare and higher education communities. The bill’s price tag is far below the House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion last month, and follows the $1.8 trillion relief offer from the Trump Administration, which was rejected by both House Democrats and Senate Republicans. COVID-19 relief negotiations between U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remain stalled over testing and liability protection language.




AACOM Virtual Day of Action

AACOM Elevates OME during Virtual Day of Action


The AACOM Virtual Day of Action brought together hundreds of members of the OME community to participate in coordinated calls to action and live virtual sessions. Attendees heard from U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) about how COVID-19 is impacting the legislative process, congressional staff members about advocacy strategies and health and higher education issues of importance to OME, and political insiders about the upcoming 2020 elections and the current media climate. AACOM thanks everyone who participated for their engaged, passionate advocacy and attention. Your sustained support will be vital as Congress continues to debate federal policies impacting OME and individuals’ access to care during COVID-19 and beyond.



Administration and Federal Agencies

AACOM Analysis on Distance Learning Final Rule


Last month, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued its on distance learning and innovation for higher education, a result of consensus-backed language crafted in 2019. AACOM previously on the proposed rule urging ED to recognize the unique nature of medical education and not inflict any undue burdens on medical students who receive critical instruction during core, out-of-state clinical rotations. The final rule is to create undue burdens on osteopathic clinical education programs. The distance education and innovation regulations become effective on July 1, 2021. For further information and details about the rule’s relevance to osteopathic medical schools, .

AACOM Supports CMS Final Rule Allowing Greater Flexibility for Displaced Residents


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued its comprehensive fiscal year 2021 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) , which expanded the definition of “displaced resident” to give greater flexibility when a hospital or graduate medical education program closes, no longer requiring a resident to be physically present onsite the day before or day of a hospital closure. This enhanced flexibility, which AACOM requested in its , should enable a more seamless transfer of cap slots to other hospitals that take on displaced residents and foster stability and continuity for residents. The IPPS final rule took effect in early October.

Quarterly HEERF Reporting Requirement Due October 30


During an October 14 , ED outlined grant reporting requirements and deadlines for institutions of higher education (IHEs), including osteopathic medical schools, that received funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). ED explained that IHEs that received more than $150,000 from the HEERF must submit Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Reporting by October 30. For further information and questions, osteopathic medical schools are encouraged to review and contact ED at .

ED Issues Final Rule on Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry


On September 22, ED issued its on Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry. The final rule furthers objectives in an signed last spring, and implements new requirements on public and private IHEs that receive certain federal grants. These requirements relate to free speech, free inquiry, and religious liberty. Colleges of osteopathic medicine receiving these grants would be held to these requirements, and an institution’s failure to comply may jeopardize its eligibility to participate in ED’s Direct Grant or State-Administered Formula Grant Programs. It is important to note that these grants are distinct from Title IV Grants and include, for example, funding under the CARES Act. .

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

Reminder: Higher Ed Institutions with Unmet COVID-19 Needs, Apply for ED Grant by October 20: ED recently released an FAQ document that provides new information and clarification on the Institutional Resilience and Expanded Postsecondary Opportunity (IREPO) grant program, including who can apply for the grant, how to submit applications, and competitive priorities. The IREPO grant will be awarded to IHEs that demonstrate greatest unmet needs due to COVID-19. .

Reminder: Fourth-Year Medical Students, Apply for Loan Repayment by November 5: The National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) is accepting applications for the 2021 cycle. The S2S LRP provides up to $120,000 in loan repayment assistance to medical or dental students in their final year of school in exchange for a commitment to provide primary healthcare services in eligible health professional shortage areas with the greatest needs. Applications are due by 7:30 PM ET on November 5. .

Organizations Serving Rural Underserved Populations, Apply for HRSA Grant by December 1: The Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program is a community-based grant program that promotes rural healthcare services by enhancing healthcare delivery to rural, underserved populations. The funding opportunity will give eligible applicants the chance to tackle growing rural health disparities. .

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