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AHEC Blog

House and Senate Pass the OmniBus Appropriations Package, Including $30.250 million for Nationwide AHEC Program

Dianne Halbert - Monday, January 04, 2016

Washington, D.C Hill Update

Last week, the National AHEC Organization (NAO) Board President Jacqueline Wynn (NC AHEC Program) and NAO CEO Robert Trachtenberg, conducted Hill visits with Congressional Members in Washington, D.C. in support of AHEC funding for FY2016 and FY2017. Their visits were both extremely well-received by those with whom they met and timely, given that discussion and deliberation regarding the Omnibus Bill were underway. In fact, one of the highlights of their visit was hearing an unnamed source from a very influential congressional office senior staff stating "thank you for coming and keeping us aware of the work across the country, as AHEC is a perfect example of how federal funds work well". It was heartening and an affirmation to hear this positive, effusive feedback.

Late last week, congressional leadership and the administration reached agreement on a comprehensive fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill and tax package. The omnibus bill and tax measure were among the few legislative items that Congress “must pass” before adjourning for the year. The House and Senate passed the omnibus appropriations package the morning of December 18th, and the President has signed the bill into law, including $30.250 million for the Area Health Education Center Program, which is level funded from FY 2015.

The omnibus appropriations measure totals nearly $1.1 trillion and includes all twelve annual appropriations bills for FY 2016. With additional spending available to congressional appropriators after the two-year budget deal was completed in November, many medical research and public health programs fare relatively well under the final funding package. Some policy-riders are included in the FY 2016 omnibus package, but the more contentious items were either dropped from the bill or negotiated thoroughly to reach a final deal.

The FY 2016 omnibus includes additional language and guidance through the joint explanatory statements that accompany the bill. Report language included previously in the Committee Reports accompanying the respective FY 2016 House and Senate appropriations bills is binding under the omnibus bill and federal agencies will respond appropriately in the current fiscal year.

The FY 2016 omnibus appropriations package provides the following funding for public health and education agencies:

  • $162.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) appropriations bill, an increase of $5.4 billion over FY 2015.
  • $727.69 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an increase of $40.49 billion over FY 2015.
  • $6.38 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an increase of $36.77 million over FY 2015.
  • $7.23 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an increase of $307.63 million over FY 2015.
  • $32.08 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $2 billion over FY 2015.
  • $3.78 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an increase of $160.2 million over FY 2015.
  • $334 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a decrease of $29.7 million from FY 2015.
  • $646.65 billion (in mostly mandatory funding) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an increase of $35.22 billion over FY 2015.
  • $2.92 billion for the Office of the HHS Secretary, an increase of $413.61 million over FY 2015.
  • $71.7 billion for the Department of Education (DoE), an increase of $1.23 billion over FY 2015.

Of specific interest to our membership, the FY 2016 omnibus appropriations package includes:

Health Resources and Services Administration

  • $1.491 billion for HRSA’s Community Health Centers, level funded from FY 2015.
  • Training for Diversity

  • $21.711 million for Minority Centers of Excellence (COE), level funded from FY 2015
  • $14.189 million for Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), level funded from FY 2015.
  • $38. 924 million for Training in Primary Care Medicine, level funded from FY 2015.
  • $35.873 million for Oral Health Training, an increase of $1.945 over FY 2015.
  • $786.89 million for the Bureau of Healthcare Workforce, an increase of $35.295 million over FY 2015.
  • $30.250 million for the Area Health Education Center Program, level funded from FY 2015

 

 


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