Biden Signs Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Bill, Including Top PAEA Priorities and Key Policy Changes
On December 29, President Biden signed H.R. 2617 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 – into law. This bill, commonly referred to as omnibus legislation, enacts final funding levels for federal programs through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2023 in addition to other legislative provisions. After sustained advocacy by the PA education community throughout 2022, the final package included a number of significant victories for programs, faculty, and students as well as key policy changes impacting future graduates.
PREVENT Pandemics Act
Throughout 2021 and 2022, PAEA launched a concerted advocacy campaign in support of legislation to strengthen preparedness for future public health threats through new investments in the national health workforce. The PREVENT Pandemics Act, a bipartisan bill passed by the Senate Health Committee with broad support early last year, proposed to do so by establishing a new loan repayment program for students and graduates specializing in infectious disease care. Thanks to the persistent efforts of national stakeholders and grassroots advocates through direct lobbying and virtual campaigns, this program, along with the broader PREVENT Pandemics Act, was included in the FY 2023 omnibus law.
Title VII Program Funding Increases
In addition to the authorization of a new loan repayment program, the FY 2023 omnibus law also increases funding for existing Title VII programs which invest in the supply, distribution, and diversity of the nation’s health workforce. Collectively, Title VII programs, including key priorities such as Primary Care Training and Enhancement grants, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students, and Area Health Education Center funding, received a 12% increase in funding over FY 2022 levels. Notably, the Faculty Loan Repayment Program, which provides loan repayment assistance in exchange for a service commitment as a faculty member at a health professions program, received an 88% increase to slightly over $2 million in annual funding.
Substance Use Disorder Training Requirements
Beyond investments in health workforce training, the FY 2023 omnibus law also makes two key changes to long-standing federal policy pertaining to substance use disorder education that reduce previous discrepancies in training requirements between PAs, nurse practitioners, and physicians. The law includes the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, legislation which fully eliminates the waiver and 24-hour training requirement previously required for PAs to prescribe buprenorphine in office-based settings for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Replacing this requirement, the law will now require all practicing clinicians registering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), including physicians, PAs, and NPs, to certify their completion of 8 hours of substance use disorder training through an external organization or via the curriculum provided by the educational program from which they graduated. As this requirement is implemented by the DEA, PAEA will provide members with updates on pertinent implications for programs and students.
PAEA’s Government Relations team would like to thank all PA education advocates for their role in influencing the FY 2023 omnibus law. Members with questions are invited to contact Tyler Smith at tsmith@PAEAonline.org.