Providers push for $7B in public health, training funds

The American Hospital Association (AHA) and more than 120 organizations are calling for the House and Senate Appropriations committees to give the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) at least $7 billion to support training for public health and healthcare professionals, rural access and children's health.

"We urge you to consider HRSA's role in building the foundation for health service delivery and ensuring that vulnerable populations receive quality health services, while continuing to strengthen our nation's health safety net programs," the groups wrote in a letter last week.

The requested minimum level of funding will enable HRSA to implement critical public health programs and services, the groups noted. For example, last fall the agency gave grants totaling $8.5 million to 85 community health centers to build their health IT infrastructures.

Meanwhile, the AHA joined more than 900 groups to urge the House and Senate Appropriates to provide the largest possible endowment to the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittees in fiscal year 2013 within the discretionary cap established by the Budget Control Act.

Under the Budget Control Act, discretionary spending will shrink by $900 billion over 10 years starting in fiscal year 2012, with an additional $1.2 trillion cut in 2013, the groups noted in a letter.

"Rebuilding our investment in these domestic programs will boost the economy and reduce the deficit through prevention of costly chronic diseases, increased earnings, and reduced expenditures for unemployment and other social service programs," the groups wrote.

To learn more:
- read the letter (.pdf)
- here's the second letter (.pdf)