AACOM Washington Insider - September 23, 2019

House Passes Short-Term Spending Bill, ED to MED Launches #COMDAY19 Web Page, RowanSOM Awarded Federal Grants to Address Opioid Crisis

September 23, 2019

What You Need to Know


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (CR), or short-term spending extension, late last week that would keep the federal government open until November 21. The Senate is expected to vote on the stopgap spending bill this week ahead of the September 30 federal funding deadline. In addition to averting a government shutdown, the bill’s health extenders package would continue funding the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program, which is also set to expire at the end of the month. AACOM urges Congress to pass the CR and will continue to in support of long-term funding for THCGME and other federal health and education programs vital to the osteopathic medical education (OME) community.


Mary-Lynn Bender

Interim Vice President of Government and Public Relations

On The Hill

FY20 Appropriations Update


The CR, likely to be signed into law this week, will buy time for Congress to continue negotiating fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills, and prevent a federal government shutdown on October 1. The package also includes funding for several important health care programs, including the THCGME Program, set to expire on October 1.


Two weeks ago, Senate appropriators postponed mark-up of its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) spending measure over certain disagreements or “poison pill” amendments. Last week, the Senate failed to advance a spending package, which included funding for LHHS, in a test vote over disputes about diverting funding from other programs to fund a wall on the southern border. Disagreement over border wall funding contributed to the 35-day partial government shutdown last winter. The Senate will need to pass all 12 funding bills in the coming weeks before conference negotiations can begin with the House.


Simultaneously, the House also has additional work ahead that must be handled prior to conference negotiations, as it has only 10 of 12 of its appropriations bills. AACOM will continue to advocate for programs of importance to OME as Congress progresses through the FY20 appropriations process.


Senate Confirms James Byrne as VA Deputy Secretary


On September 11, the Senate confirmed, along party lines, as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He previously served as VA’s General Counsel and held positions at Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Office of the United States Special Counsel. Mr. Byrne has been serving as Acting Deputy Secretary of the VA since August 2018.




#COMDAY19: Take Action on October 17!


On October 17, osteopathic medical school deans, the Assembly of Osteopathic Graduate Medical Educators, and other designated AACOM members will travel to Washington, DC for AACOM’s 2019 COM Day on Capitol Hill to meet with Congress about federal policy issues affecting OME. To complement the impact of COM Day’s congressional visits, AACOM invites advocates from across the country to participate in our Virtual Hill Day, which will be executed in conjunction with COM Day.


Visit the Virtual Hill Day web page, where you can access materials and information to help you effectively advocate on October 17. Download social sharing graphics to accompany your Facebook posts or tweets, apply a #COMDAY19 Facebook frame to your profile picture to let your friends know you will be participating in this day of advocacy, add GIPHY stickers to your Instagram posts to educate and excite your network, and read and share a digital one-pager explaining ED to MED’s high-priority policy issues. Get involved and learn how you can !

AACOM Rallies for NIH Support


Last week, AACOM participated in the 7th annual Rally for Medical Research National Day of Action to raise awareness about the importance of sustained funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH research leads to innovative medical discoveries contributing to causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases and overall disease prevention. Earlier this year, AACOM submitted testimony to and Appropriations Subcommittees in support of strong federal investment in the NIH and remains committed to advocating on behalf of federal research advancement.



Administration and Federal Agencies

Gainful Employment Reporting for 2018 – 2019


On July 1, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) its 2014 gainful employment (GE) . The GE rule applied to all programs at all Title IV eligible proprietary schools, including for-profit medical schools, as well as certificate/non-degree granting programs at non-profit schools or public institutions. While the GE rule rescission will not be implemented until July 1, 2020, institutions now have the option to implement the rescission early by documenting this election internally and maintaining record of the election to provide to ED upon request. Institutions that choose to early implement the rescission of the GE rule will not be required to report GE data for the 2018 – 19 Award Year to the National Student Loan Data System. Institutions that do not elect to early implement the rescission are still required to report GE data using the GE Disclosure Template for the 2018 – 2019 Award Year by October 1, 2019. Reporting instructions are available in ED's on GE reporting.

NIH LRP Application Now Includes Expanded NIDA Opportunities


The NIH is currently accepting applications for its (LRPs). The National Institute on Drug Abuse will continue to participate in the clinical research and pediatric research tracks and will begin participating in the health disparities program. The NIH LRPs are designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers by helping alleviate some of the debt burden that drives many health professionals away from research activities. The NIH may repay up to $50,000 of qualified student loan debt per year for each awardee, in exchange for the commitment to conduct at least two years of NIH mission-relevant research for no less than 20 hours per week. There are five extramural LRPs that applicants may be eligible for, including clinical research, pediatric research, health disparities research, contraception and infertility research, and clinical research for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. A completed online application must be submitted by November 15. .

HRSA Releases New Process for Auto-HPSA Scoring


The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), through its , recently updated all automatically designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) scores, marking the first time that Auto-HPSAs are scored electronically rather than manually. Rural health clinics, certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are considered Auto-HPSAs provided they meet the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) site requirements. The new process is intended to ensure that all HPSAs nationwide are in a single, online system. The new scores will be used in the FY20 NHSC LRP application process, which is expected to open early next year. .

Featured Federal Resources and COM Engagement

NIA Updating Data-Sharing Policy: The National Institute for Aging (NIA) is in the process of updating its data-sharing policies as part of a larger refresh being undertaken by the NIH. New guidelines have been drafted that outline ways in which grant recipients will share data with the NIA through the creation of data enclaves, as well as timetables for data release. .

RowanSOM Awarded Two Federal Grants to Address Opioid Crisis: The Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) was recently awarded two federal research grants to address the opioid crisis. The first, by U.S. Representative Donald Norcross (D-NJ), will support research on substance use disorders, HIV, hepatitis C, and primary care services for marginalized populations. “Innovative research projects are the only way we are going to improve treatments, discover new ideas and ensure South Jerseyans and Americans are ready for the challenges of tomorrow,” said Rep. Norcross. Richard Jermyn, DO, Director of Rowan Medicine’s NeuroMusculoskeletal Institute and Professor and Chair of RowanSOM’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, stated that the $500,000 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant would put the state “in the forefront in fighting the opioid crisis.”


The second grant, by U.S. Representative Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will be a collaboration with the Atlantic County’s Sheriff’s Office on a project to train first responders on the use of naloxone to treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations. In his announcement, Rep. Van Drew thanked Atlantic County “Sherriff Eric Scheffler and Dr. Richard Jermyn who worked so hard for this grant and do so much for the community of South Jersey.”

HRSA Accepting Applications for Rural Health Network Development Program: HRSA has posted a new funding opportunity for the Rural Health Network Development Program, which supports medical care in rural communities by creating networks of health care professionals. Applications are due November 25, 2019. .

PCORI Soliciting for Three Funding Opportunities: The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is currently accepting letters of intent for three funding opportunities. The is for projects that align with PCORI’s four priority areas: Addressing Disparities; Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options; Communication and Dissemination Research; and Improving Health Systems. The is for studies that address high-priority methodological gaps in patient-centered outcomes research and comparative clinical effectiveness research. The funding opportunity is for studies that move evidence from previously funded projects toward practical use in improving health care and health outcomes. .

HRSA Hosting Virtual Job Fair on October 16: HRSA is hosting a virtual job fair on Wednesday, October 16 from 6:45 PM – 10:45 PM ET. The event will connect students and clinicians with health care delivery organizations, as well as provide information on training and employment opportunities nationwide. Before participating, candidates are encouraged to set up a professional profile on the . .

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American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
Office of Government Relations
500 New Jersey Avenue NW, Suite 380, Washington, DC 20001

Contact the editors: aacomgr@aacom.org

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