Making Summer the Season for Advocacy
While summer has traditionally been a time for cookouts and vacations, PAEA’s Government Relations team has marked the season by heating up our advocacy efforts as the countdown to reauthorize the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) by this fall begins. The NHSC, which is one of the most valuable provider recruitment tools for increasing access to care in rural and underserved areas, is facing a funding cliff this September. To prevent this lapse in mandatory funding, PAEA advocates leapt into action to spread the word about legislative solutions to members of Congress.
On June 29, PAEA hosted “Expanding Access to Care: The Role of the National Health Service Corps,” a virtual congressional briefing which invited congressional staffers as well as PA faculty and students to learn more about PA participation in the NHSC and the importance of sustained investment in the program for providers and patients alike.
To emphasize these themes, the briefing featured Frank Giannelli, PhD, PA-C, who is an Assistant Professor for the Rutgers University PA program, and Shani Fleming, MSHS, MPS, PA-C, who is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore PA program, who shared their positive experiences with the NHSC as former participants. The briefing then concluded with a request for support of two PAEA endorsed bills that would maintain appropriate levels of funding for the NHSC: H.R. 3080 – the Health Center Service Expansion and Provider Shortage Reduction Act and S. 862 – the Restoring America’s Health Care Workforce and Readiness Act.
Shortly after the briefing, PAEA held the Association’s inaugural Policy Summit from July 10-12. The Policy Summit, which brought together faculty and students from more than 20 different PA programs across the county, built upon the momentum of the congressional briefing by sending participants to Capitol Hill to advocate for the Health Center Service Expansion and Provider Shortage Reduction Act in the House and the Restoring America’s Health Care Workforce and Readiness Act in the Senate.
The event resulted in dozens of congressional meetings that will generate additional cosponsors for the bills in addition to putting the expiration of the NHSC’s mandatory authorization on the radar of elected officials representing PAEA’s grassroots advocates.
PAEA greatly appreciates the support of all PA faculty and students that have donated their time and effort to fight for the NHSC this summer. For those that would like to join the fight from home, please consider reaching out to your representatives through PAEA’s current online NHSC campaign. Additionally, members and students with questions about the NHSC are invited to contact Tyler Smith at tsmith@PAEAonline.org.