Letter from the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee urging them to follow the House Appropriations Subcommittee in...

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July 27, 2010

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman 
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education 
Committee on Appropriations 
United States Senate 
Washington, D.C. 20510 

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate 
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Cochran:

As you know, the House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee recently approved its version of the fiscal year (FY) 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill. In recognizing the importance of a robust health care workforce that is prepared to serve the needs of all populations, the House subcommittee included $356 million for the Title VII health professions programs and $292 million for nursing education. The undersigned members of the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) appreciate the recognition these important programs received in the House, and urge you to follow suit with a comparably strong investment in Titles VII and VIII in your FY 2011 appropriations bill.
Through loans, loan guarantees, scholarships to students, and grants and contracts to academic institutions, the Title VII and Title VIII health professions and nursing education programs provide direct financial support for health care workforce development and education. In addition, they are the only sources of federal funding dedicated to educating and training providers in interdisciplinary settings to meet the needs of special and underserved populations, as well as to increase minority representation in the health care workforce. As such, they are a vital contributor to the country’s health care safety net, not only preparing aspiring professionals to meet the nation’s workforce needs, but also helping to improve health outcomes across all populations.

The multi-year nature of health professions education and training, coupled with unprecedented existing and looming provider shortages across many disciplines, necessitates a continued, reliable investment in the existing core Title VII and Title VIII programs. If we are to create a workforce that is capable of providing quality care to all Americans, an additional investment in the new health professions programs authorized under the Affordable Care Act is essential as well.

While we understand the difficulties of the fiscal environment, we urge you, at minimum, to match the House subcommittee’s commitment to the health professions workforce. These programs are essential if we are to resolve systemic workforce shortages and help deliver care to the country’s most vulnerable populations. Your leadership is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to working with you to ensure that there is continued support for these critical programs.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
American Academy of Physician Assistants
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
American College of Physicians
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Dental Education Association
American Dental Hygienists Association
American Geriatrics Society
American Medical Student Association
American Nephrology Nurses Association
American Nurses Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Podiatric Medical Association
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
American Society for Clinical Pathology
Association for Prevention Teaching and Research
Association for Professors in Medicine
Association for Program Directors in Internal Medicine
Association of Academic Health Centers
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Association of Chiropractic Colleges
Association of Departments of Family Medicine
Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors
Association of Minority Health Professions Schools
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses
Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine
Coalition of Urban Serving Universities
Council on Social Work Education
Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association
Health Professions Network
National AHEC Organization
National Association of Minority Medical Educators
National Athletic Trainers Association
National Council for Diversity in the Health Professions
National League for Nursing
National Rural Health Association
North American Primary Care Research Group
Oncology Nursing Society
Physician Assistant Education Association
Society for General Internal Medicine
Society of Teachers in Family Medicine