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October 3, 2022

AACOM in Action

What You Need to Know

New Data Magnifies Importance of FAIR Act Enactment

 

Introduction of the Fair Access in Residency (FAIR) Act, H.R. 8850, comes at an important time. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) recently published its , which contains new information on the hurdles faced by DO applicants when applying to residency programs. According to the survey, 32 percent of residency program directors never or seldom interview DO candidates, and for those that do, 56 percent require the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), the MD licensing exam.

As a result, the proportion of DO students who take the USMLE compared to those who take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination of the United States (COMLEX-USA) has increased by 26 percent since 2015, the beginning of the transition to single accreditation, according to National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and USMLE data. This occurs even as there is a strong relationship between an applicant’s score on both the COMLEX-USA and USMLE. The FAIR Act ensures that Medicare-funded residency programs cannot require DO applicants to take the USMLE to be considered.

FAIR Act Achieves Robust Support from National and State Organizations

 

AACOM continues to swiftly build organizational endorsements for the FAIR Act. To date, 47 national and state organizations, including the National Rural Health Association, have signed our . These organizations agree that the FAIR Act is necessary to “increase access to high-quality, patient-centered healthcare in rural and underserved areas.” All signers strongly support legislation to end unnecessary barriers and ensure that federally funded residency programs are open to DOs and COMLEX-USA. FAIR Act support is growing! AACOM encourages interested organizations to please email to join our letter.

AACOM Advocates

Tell Congress to Ensure Residency Fairness for DOs

 

While FAIR Act introduction is a significant first step, more needs to be done to ensure that DOs and their licensing exam, COMLEX-USA, are fairly considered by all Medicare-funded residency programs. Take action now to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 8850 or introduce a Senate companion bill.

Policy Update

Federal Government Funding Extended Through December 16

 

  • On September 30, 2022, President Biden signed a continuing resolution (CR) extending current levels of government funding into December, avoiding a government shutdown.
  • While the CR is mostly limited to straight government funding extensions, it does include a few specific provisions, including:
    • Language to reauthorize Food and Drug Administration (FDA) industry fees that are set to expire. These payments fund nearly half of the FDA’s budget.
    • $12.35 billion in emergency assistance for Ukraine.
  • AACOM will continue to advance funding priorities as Congress crafts the omnibus appropriations bill to be taken up after the mid-term elections.

Senate Releases Behavioral Health Workforce Discussion Draft

 

  • The Senate recently released a discussion draft, the latest in a series of action plans to address and improve mental and behavioral health in America.
  • These sweeping drafts could be voted on in the upcoming “lame-duck” session after the midterm elections.
  • Of particular attention to the osteopathic medical education community is the distribution of 400 new residency slots for psychiatry and psychiatry subspecialties.
  • In addition, the draft provides for expanding eligibility incentives under the Medicare Health Professional Shortage Area bonus program for furnishing mental health and substance use disorder services.
  • The Committee is accepting feedback on this draft, and we encourage you to provide suggestions on the number and distribution of new and targeted graduate medical education slots, including the percentage for hospitals in rural areas, in Health Professional Shortage Areas and in states with new or expanded osteopathic medical schools. Please share any responses with us at .
  • to learn more about this behavioral health proposal.

Engagement and Resources

Apply Now for Preventive Medicine Residency Funding: The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced $6.7 million for 16 awards to create new preventive medicine residencies at eligible entities, including colleges of osteopathic medicine. HRSA is hosting a today, October 3, 2022, from 3:00-4:00 PM ET. .

Can’t Miss Webinar on THCGME Funding and Operations: Join AACOM and the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators on October 5, 2022, at 4:00 PM ET for a webinar featuring Dr. Meaghan Ruddy of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education who will share the center’s experience with the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education is one of the first and largest THCGME organizations in the nation. This webinar will provide vision, victories, lessons learned and an opportunity to talk through THCGME questions and ideas. .

Deadline Approaching to Apply for THCGME Grants: HRSA is awarding $18 million in 28 awards to support new primary care residency positions at new Teaching Health Centers (THCs) and to increase the number of residency positions at existing THCs. Grantees will prepare residents to provide high quality care, particularly in rural and underserved communities. .

Fourth-Year Medical Students: Receive up to $120k in Loan Forgiveness: Apply now for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service Loan Repayment Program. The program offers up to $120,000 in loan repayment funds to eligible borrows who provide primary health services in Health Professional Shortage Areas. AACOM and NHSC recently held an on the program. Applications are due by December 1, 2022. .

One Month to Apply for Geriatrics Academic Career Awards: The HRSA Bureau of Health Workforce is accepting applications for Geriatrics Academic Career Awards. This program supports the career development of junior faculty as academic geriatricians or academic geriatrics specialists. .

Reminder: Applications Open for the Rural Health Network Development Program: The HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy is accepting applications for the Rural Health Network Development (RHND) Program. The goal of the RHND Program is to address gaps in service, enhance systems of care and expand capacity of the local rural healthcare system. HRSA anticipates awarding more than $13 million in grants across 44 awards. .

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

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