PAEA-Endorsed Legislation Reintroduced for 117th Congress

Following the opening of the 117th Congress in early January, PAEA’s Government Relations team has been hard at work collaborating with key legislative stakeholders on policy solutions to the most prevalent issues impacting PA programs, faculty, and students. A key component of this work has been contributing to the reintroduction of PAEA-endorsed legislation from the previous Congress. We are proud to announce that two core components of PAEA’s legislative agenda, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and the Strengthening America’s Health Care Readiness Act, have recently been reintroduced, kicking off the Association’s advocacy priorities for the coming year.

On February 8, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL) reintroduced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act. First introduced in March 2020, this updated legislative package combines 12 individual bills designed to address various contributors to maternal health disparities. One component bill that is particularly pertinent to the PA education community is the Perinatal Workforce Act, which seeks to improve workforce diversity by authorizing $15 million annually over 5 years to support PA programs and other health professions programs with a demonstrated strategy to significantly improve recruitment and matriculation of underrepresented minority students.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act also includes a number of new provisions to support PA education. Specifically, the updated bill includes the Protecting Moms and Babies from Climate Change Act, which would authorize $5 million each year for 5 years to support curriculum development for PA programs and other health professions programs regarding environmental hazards to patients’ health and appropriate interventions. Further, the Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act within the broader package includes new language supporting investments in care improvements for incarcerated women at federal Bureau of Prisons facilities and state/local prisons and jails. Among the allowable uses of funding identified in the measure is support for correctional medicine clinical education opportunities for PA students.

In addition to the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced S. 54 – the Strengthening America’s Health Care Readiness Act in late January. In response to the workforce gaps starkly illustrated by COVID-19, S. 54 would provide a one-time appropriation of $5 billion for new National Health Service Corps scholarship and loan repayment awards. Critically, the bill also seeks to address financial barriers to matriculation for underrepresented minority students with a minimum of 40% of new awards required to support racial and ethnic minority students and clinicians as well as individuals from low-income rural or urban communities.

As PAEA’s Government Relations team works to advance this legislation during the 117th Congress, the continued support of grassroots advocates will be crucial. Please visit the Grassroots Action Network to learn more about the progress of this legislation and opportunities to contribute to the advancement of the Association’s advocacy agenda.