Action Center

Washington Update - April 2023
April 3, 2023 by Catherine Majewski
  • Star Grassroots Advocates
    • On March 13-14, PAEA hosted nearly 50 faculty and students in Washington, DC for the 2023 Spring Advocacy Trip. During the trip, attendees participated in an advocacy training, toured Capitol Hill, and met with their elected representatives’ offices to support PAEA’s FY24 appropriations priorities. Special thanks to the students and faculty of the Morehouse School of Medicine, University of Colorado, MGH Institute of Health Professions, and University of Southern California for making this year’s PAEA Spring Advocacy Trip a success. If you would like to read more about this event, check out this article on the PAEA website. 
    • PAEA’s Government Relations team conducted a virtual advocacy training session with students and faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint PA program on March 21. During the training, students learned about the Association’s key policy priorities, opportunities to advocate on behalf of PA education and the profession, and how to conduct an effective advocacy meeting with their elected officials. Thank you to Stephanie Gilkey, MS, PA.-C., DFAAPA for helping to coordinate the lecture!
  • Advancing PAEA’s Advocacy Agenda
    • On March 7, PAEA and the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) sent a 118th Congress welcome letter highlighting the coalition’s policy priorities that would bolster the nation’s health care workforce and ensure that Americans have access to high-quality health care services.
    • In response to a request for information on the root causes of the current health care workforce shortage and strategies to bolster the workforce pipeline, PAEA submitted a letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee leadership on March 16. The letter underscores the importance of significant investment in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), curriculum development, and policies that would reduce long-standing maternal health disparities. PAEA also encouraged the committee to address financial barriers for students pursuing a PA education and support PA program development at historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions. 
    • On March 16, Senators Durbin and Rubio announced the introduction of a new bill to extend and increase mandatory funding levels for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Ahead of the official announcement, PAEA endorsed this legislation and will be engaging in further advocacy opportunities to promote its advancement. 
    • On March 23, PAEA submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to request the following in FY24:
      • $1.51 billion for the Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs,
      • $98 million for Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) grants,
      • $86 million for Area Health Education Centers (AHECs),
      • $30 million for the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP),
      • $103 million for the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program, and
      • $5 million for the Rural Maternal and Obstetric Care Training demonstration program.
    • PAEA along with other members of the Friends of HRSA coalition sent a letter to House and Senate lead appropriators urging them to provide at least $10.5 billion for discretionary Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs in the FY 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
    • PAEA joined a sign-on letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee on March 24 asking for the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program to be fully funded at its $100 million authorization level and that $50 million be provided to launch the new Bio-Preparedness Workforce Pilot Program at the Health Resources and Services Administration. 
    • On March 24, PAEA in association with the Coalition for Health Funding, the Committee for Education Funding, the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce, and the Coalition on Human Needs submitted a letter to the Senate and House Appropriations committees calling for a Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee FY24 302(b) allocation that builds on FY23's $226.8 billion to address the gap created by years of underfunding.
  • Health Care News in Washington
    • In the beginning of March, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the opening of its annual application cycle for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship program as well as three of its loan repayment program options. If you are interested in applying or would like to learn more about these opportunities, check out this article published by PAEA. 
    • On March 9, Biden released a $6.9 trillion fiscal 2024 budget proposal to Congress that would increase funding for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) by 11.5%, or $14.8 billion from the enacted FY 2023 level. Additionally, the President’s health priorities include reducing drug prices, expanding health insurance coverage, bolstering the health workforce, fighting cancer, enhancing Medicare, and increasing access to care.   
    • On March 23, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies held its Public Witness Day hearing. During the hearing, several witnesses implored the subcommittee to address the challenges confronting federal student aid programs and their administration, support mental and behavioral health professionals, and provide $10.5 billion in discretionary funding for HRSA’s ongoing efforts to improve maternal and child health, invest in community health centers, and bolster the healthcare workforce.
    • On March 24, more than 30 House Democrats sent a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders calling for more funding for two substance use disorder workforce programs. One of these programs is the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program (STAR LRP), which allows PAs and other eligible substance use disorder (SUD) treatment clinicians and community health workers to receive up to $250,000 in loan repayment in exchange for a six-year full-time service commitment at a STAR LRP-approved facility. 
  • Opportunities for Action
    • It is critical that constituents advocate for strengthened health workforce investments to address provider shortages and their impact on the quality of care delivered to all communities. Please urge Congress to support increased funding for all Title VII health workforce development programs for fiscal year 2024 today.
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