Even under ordinary circumstances, it is common for competition between Democrats and Republicans and also between the two legislative chambers to serve as obstacles to passing important bills. Given that a presidential election occurs next year, it can be expected that partisanship will play a role in complicating attempts to pass legislation that would be perceived as accruing to the advantage of one political party over the other party’s fortunes. So, it always is refreshing that at a time of potential conflict, there is evidence that opponents can join forces to advance the common good.
The introduction of H.R. 2781, a bipartisan bill to amend Title VII of the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize certain programs relating to the health professions workforce, and for other purposes, is an example of one such effort. The proposed legislation would increase the authorization for most Title VII programs by 5% over the fiscal year 2019 appropriated levels, 7.2% for Area Health Education Centers (AHECs), and 25% for Geriatric Programs. The legislation also provides flat funding authorization for the Pediatric Loan Repayment program, which has yet to receive an appropriation.
Title VII programs are under the direction of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). They have been created to enhance the health professions pipeline through a wide variety of education and training programs that play a critical role in addressing major health problems in rural and underserved communities. One aim of H.R. 2781 is to respond to the problem of an emerging shortage of physicians in the United States. It is anticipated that the House Energy and Commerce Committee will conduct a hearing on Title VII reauthorization in June 2019.
Meanwhile, despite partisan differences on important funding legislation for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS), the House Appropriations Committee on May 8, 2019 approved its FY 2020 spending bill by a party line vote of 30-23. The committee also approved 302(b) allocations for all twelve appropriations subcommittees. Among the various provisions are the following:
The approved legislation provides a program level of $41.084 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which amounts to a $2 billion or 5.12% increase over the comparable FY 2019 level. The bill provides an across-the-board increase of approximately 5% for all Institutes and Centers to maximize the across-the-board increase for all these entities in order to ensure a significant boost for the best peer-reviewed research across all scientific disciplines.
Other funding allocations include $734.9 million for HRSA’s Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs, a $93.25 million (14.5%) increase over FY 2019 enacted levels. The amounts include increases for diversity pipeline programs, such as the Health Careers Opportunity Program, which received $20 million in funding for FY 2020, a $5.8 million (41%) increase over FY 2019 levels. Other kinds of programs, such as Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education would benefit by an allocation of $350 million, which is a $25 million (7.6%) increase over FY 2019 levels.
More Articles from TRENDS May 2019
LANGUAGE TRANSMISSION AND TRANSLATION
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PRESIDENT’S CORNER—ASAHP MEMBER FOCUS
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HEALTH REFORM DEVELOPMENTS
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DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
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Wireless Sensor System To Monitor Babies In The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Electric Field-Based Dressing Disrupts Bacterial Biofilm Infection To Restore Healing Read More
AVAILABLE RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONICALLY
Advancing Patient-Centered Care For Individuals With Multiple Chronic Conditions
Effects Of Early Care And Education On Children’s Health
Addressing Social Determinants Of Health Through Housing Improvements Read More
RANDOMIZED CLINICAL TRIALS AND THE WEIGHT OF A SOUL
Although progress has been made in research to measure the effectiveness of clinical interventions, similar lapses found in a study from the early 20th century can be observed in studies conducted today. Read More
VALIDATION OF DIGITAL HEALTH SOLUTIONS
Refers to how confidence remains low in the production of validated digital health solutions and how more standardized and transparent kinds of validation are needed. Read More