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Washington Update - April 2022
April 1, 2022 by Catherine Majewski
  • Star Grassroots Advocates
    • ​On March 24, PAEA hosted a virtual congressional briefing entitled, “Strengthening the Nation’s Health Workforce: The Critical Role of Title VII Investments.” The briefing featured a panel of PA educators who discussed their Title VII awards; how federal funding supports curriculum development, clinical training opportunities, and student diversity; and the importance of increased funding to ensure communities have continued access to high-quality care. Special thanks to Kara Caruthers, MSPAS, PA-C; Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, DrPH, MPAS, PA-C; and Nina Multak, PhD, MPAS, PA-C for serving as speakers and elevating awareness of how PA programs are leveraging Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding to develop a well-trained, diverse health workforce. For those unable to attend the live event, a recording of the briefing can be accessed here.
  • Advancing PAEA's Advocacy Agenda
    • ​On March 7, PAEA, along with over 200 other organizations, submitted a letter urging President Biden to extend the current pause on student loan payments and interest accrual until the Department of Education implements structural reforms to existing loan forgiveness options and cancels a significant amount of federal student debt.
    • On March 15, the FY 2022 omnibus spending bill providing funding for all federal agency operations was signed by President Biden. The bill includes the following PAEA policy victories that will strengthen clinical site access, promote health workforce diversity, and support key infrastructure needs for PA programs, including:
      1. The authorization of $5 million annually through fiscal year 2027 to support OB/GYN clinical training opportunities in rural communities for PA and other health professions students;
      2. A $1.75 million increase for Area Health Education Centers over the FY21 funding level;
      3. The authorization of $5 million annually through fiscal year 2027 to support curriculum development pertaining to prenatal and postpartum care with an emphasis on the needs of racial and ethnic minority patients;
      4. A $1.5 million increase for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students over the FY21 funding level; and
      5. Community project funding for PA programs at Mississippi State University – Meridian, Saint Francis University, and Touro University California
    • Special thanks to all who helped secure the passage of the Rural MOMS Act by participating in our email campaign beginning in June 2021 through the Grassroots Action Network! 
  • Health Care News in Washington
    • ​On March 2, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing titled, "Lessons from the Frontline: COVID-19’s Impact on American Health Care." During this hearing, witnesses described the importance of expanding behavioral health support for health care workers as well as growing and diversifying the health care workforce to improve the nation’s response to future public health emergencies.
    • On March 15, the bipartisan PREVENT Pandemics Act drafted by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) was marked up in committee. The bill passed the Senate HELP Committee with a 20-2 vote and will proceed to the Senate floor with eight amendments.
    • On March 23, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing entitled, “Strengthening Federal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programs: Opportunities, Challenges, and Emerging Issues.” During the hearing, witnesses recommended several policies to address the rise in suicides and drug overdoses across the country, including support for efforts like the National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment programs that strengthen and diversify the nation’s behavioral health workforce by incentivizing practice in vulnerable communities.
  • Opportunities for Action
    • ​As the Senate continues negotiations over a revised iteration of the Build Back Better Act, it is critical that constituents make their voice heard to preserve investments in health workforce diversity in the bill. Please urge your senators to champion these provisions today.
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