NOSORH Submits Rural GME Letter to Congress:
On August 30, NOSORH joined a coalition of rural health partners in sending an endorsement letter for the Rural Physician Workforce Shortage Act to the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, S. 1893, is a bipartisan Senate bill introduced by Senators Tester (D-MT) and Barrasso (R-WY) to increase the physician workforce in rural areas.
More specifically, the letter asks Senate Finance Chairman Wyden (D-OR) and Ways and Means Chairman Neal (D-MA) to support the inclusion of targeted rural graduate medical education (GME) language in the current budget reconciliation package, which Democrat leadership in Congress will attempt to pass this fall. Before departing in August, Congress passed a broad budget reconciliation package that instructs various Congressional Committees to begin writing legislative language, which Congress will take up this fall.
Bill Reauthorizing Flex Nearing Introduction:
Throughout 2021, NOSORH has been working with NRHA and Rep. Graves (R-MO) to introduce legislation that seeks to reauthorize, make important updates and increase funding for the Flex program. Rep. Graves office will likely introduce this bill upon Congress returning in September.
September Appropriations Deadline Nears:
As the calendar turns to September, Congress remains out of session ahead of the Labor Day weekend. The Senate is scheduled to return on September 13, and the House returns on September 20. Upon return, Congress will have until September 30 to pass the spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 or extend FY ’21 funding. In mid-July, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Labor-HHS spending bill, which included $13 million for the SORH grant program, an increase of $500,000 over FY 2021. The Appropriations Committee included $79,009,000 for Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX) Grants, $23,400,000 above the FY 2021 enacted level and $23,242,000 for SHIP, an increase of $2,300,000 over FY 21. The Senate Appropriations Committee will introduce their FY 2022 spending bills in September. NOSORH continues to work with the state offices to contact their Congressional delegations and urge Senate offices to support increased SORH funding for the coming fiscal year.