1. From the Executive Director's Desk
I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day holiday. Now it really feels like summer is over, which, for me, is just fine; fall is easily my favorite season. There is a good deal of information in today's Monday Update; please read carefully.
Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Outlook
The current fiscal year (FY), 2013, saw the first round of sequester cuts reduce funding for medical research, public health, training, and education programs by roughly 5% below the FY 2012 level, while also reaping a toll on mandatory programs, such as a 2% cut to Medicare. With FY 2014 starting on October 1, lawmakers have made little progress on a federal funding and deficit reduction strategy. Only a handful of the 12 annual appropriations bills have seen serious consideration by either chamber. When weighing the remaining workload against the limited legislative days available to complete the job before October 1, it seems inevitable that Congress will need to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to prevent a government shutdown. Such action will likely fund federal programs approximately at their post-sequestration FY 2013 levels for at least a couple of months in FY 2014.
While a short-term CR in effect buys additional time for Congress and the Administration to complete work on FY 2014 appropriations, there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached on the annual appropriations bills. The allocations used by the House and Senate to craft their respective funding measures are substantially different. The House is basing its bills on a post-sequestration baseline level, and the Senate is considering its bills under the assumption sequestration will be cancelled and additional funding will be available to provide increases to many health and education programs. If Congress fails to cancel or replace sequestration, then non-defense discretionary programs will face another cut of approximately 2% below the fiscal year 2013 post-sequestration level.
A complicating factor in this process includes the need to raise the federal debt ceiling at some point in time this fall, and threats by conservative factions to use this debate as a strategy to de-fund or repeal the President's health reform law. Uncertainty currently characterizes the FY 2014 funding picture with options ranging from noteworthy funding increases to compounding existing cuts for most programs. The FY 2014 picture will clarify as the start of the next fiscal year and the approaching end of the congressional session force lawmakers' hands. We will continue to keep you advised as this process moves forward.
Needless to say, it is essential that AHECs continue their advocacy and outreach to Congressional Members regularly. Sharing individual AHEC stories that, woven together to show a pattern in outcomes, can be effective. Additionally, highlighting hard data on AHEC's involvement in building the primary care workforce (i.e., there is X amount of primary care doctors in rural underserved areas, and through AHEC programs X% of students started a career in primary care medicine) can be effective as well. Thank you for your continuing advocacy and outreach efforts! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
NAO Fall 2013 Strategic Planning Meeting
NAO 2014 Charlotte, NC Conference
Have a great week!
2. From A-TrACC
Wednesday, September 11, 3 to 4 pm Eastern: Register
The Goal is in Sight!
3. Reminder: Journal of the National AHEC Organization Seeks Articles
The Editorial Board is looking for articles that address five important topics:
Articles on related topics, such as individual and institutional success stories relating to innovative education programs, strategic planning processes with educational partners, and effective evaluation solutions are welcomed.
Please submit drafts, photos, and accompanying materials to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission Statement: The National AHEC Organization supports and advances the AHEC Network to improve health by leading the nation in the recruitment, training and retention of a diverse health workforce for underserved communities.
To submit an item, please click here. Deadline: Thursdays, noon CST.