Congress Passes FY20 Spending Bills

2020-01-09 | , American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

December 20, 2019

This week, Congress passed a comprehensive, two-part, $1.4 trillion spending deal for fiscal year (FY) 2020, H.R. 1865, the Fiscal 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, and H.R. 1158, the Fiscal 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act. These “minibuses” include an increase in funding attributed to the two-year budget agreement signed into law in August 2019, providing $484.5 billion in non-defense discretionary programs.

Highlights of importance to osteopathic medical education include the following:

  • U.S. Department of Education (ED) – $72.8 billion, a $1.3 billion increase above the FY19 enacted level.
    • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program –  ED is instructed to report to Congress on actions planned or taken around the following:
      • To address and implement recommendations outlined in a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report titled, "Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Improving the Temporary Expanded Process Could Help Reduce Borrower Confusion;”
      • To simplify the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) application process so borrowers can apply for TEPSLF at the same time as they apply for PSLF;
      • To provide more information to borrowers denied TEPSLF on the reason for the denial;
      • To conduct outreach to borrowers who may be eligible for TEPSLF; and
      • To improve administration of the PSLF Program, including by implementing GAO's recommendations for that program.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – $94.9 billion in budget authority, an increase of $4.4 billion above the FY19 enacted level.
    • National Institutes of Health (NIH) – $41.7 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion above the FY19 level.
      • The measure also recognizes the importance of enhancing NIH research funding for osteopathic medical schools, as osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest growing health care professions in the country, and plays a vital role in treating our nation’s rural, underserved, and socioeconomically challenged populations.
    • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - $4 billion for administrative expenses
      • The measure also includes language encouraging CMS to extend the time for new residency programs in areas facing physician shortages before a full-time equivalent resident cap is applied.
      • In addition, CMS is recommended to meet with physician, hospital, and other industry stakeholders from underserved areas to better understand changes in population health, and to provide an update to Congress.
    • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – $338 million, at FY19 level funding.
    • National Health Service Corps (NHSC) – $120 million, $15 million above FY19.
    • Health Resources and Services Administration – $7.3 billion, a $177 million increase above the FY19 enacted level.
      • Title VII and Title VIII Health Professions Workforce Training and Scholarship Programs – $684.5 million, an increase of $42.8 million above FY19 levels.
      • Rural health programs – $318.3 million, $500,000 over FY19 levels.
      • Health Careers Opportunity Program – $15 million, $811,000 over FY19 levels.
      • Area Health Education Centers – $41.25 million, $2 million above FY19.
      • Centers of Excellence – $23.7 million, or level funding. 
      • Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students – $51.5 million, $2.5 million above FY19.
      • Primary Care Training and Enhancement Programs – $48.9, or level funding.
      • Geriatrics Programs – $40.7 million, or level funding.
      • Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program – $102 million, an increase of $27 million over FY19 levels.
      • Public Health and Preventative Medicine – $17 million, at FY19 level funding.
      • Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program – Alongside Community Health Centers and the NHSC, current funding is continued for the THCGME Program through May 22, 2020. These programs improve our medical workforce by supporting the training of health professionals in underserved areas.