Year-End Funding Bill Includes Significant Wins for PA Education

In late December, President Donald Trump signed into law a bill providing funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education through the end of fiscal year 2020. Following a year of sustained advocacy from the health professions education community, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 includes significant increases in high-priority programs for PA education. 

In response to the national opioid epidemic, the bill provides $26.7 million in new funding to support the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration program, which aims to bolster the mental and behavioral health curriculum delivered to students through clinical training experiences and other activities. Further, the bill provides an additional $15 million to support the National Health Service Corps Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Loan Repayment Program, while also providing $12 million for a separate loan repayment program for providers in behavioral health. This program, originally authorized in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, has been an appropriations priority for PAEA’s Government Relations team since its enactment. 

In addition to these significant new investments, the bill also protects and slightly increases long-standing priorities for PA education including a $2 million increase for the Area Health Education Centers program and nearly $1 million in additional funding for the Health Careers Opportunity Program.  

Beyond determining final spending levels for FY20, the bill also extends several key public health programs through May 2020 including one of PAEA’s top priorities — the National Health Service Corps. Over the coming months, PAEA will continue to advocate for a 5-year reauthorization of National Health Service Corps funding to ensure that students and graduates have the financial certainty necessary to plan for a service commitment. 

The Government Relations team would like to thank the faculty and students who advocated on behalf of these critical priorities over the course of 2019.