On July 19, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2018 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill by a 28-22 vote. Overall, the legislation includes $156 billion in discretionary funding, which is a reduction of $5 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The committee majority states that the bill cuts funding to lower-priority programs, while targeting investments in medical research, public health, biodefense, and activities that help boost job growth. For a third consecutive year, it allocates a significant funding increase of $1.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The committee report indicates that the bill provides $237 million for Title VII health professions training, a $72.2 million (23.3%) cut, and provides $211 million for Title VIII nursing programs, an $18.3 million (8%) cut. Fortunately, Title VII oral health training programs fared well, with pediatric dentistry receiving level funding of $10 million, along with a continued commitment to the dental faculty loan repayment program. The following funding level and favorable report language sought by AAPD, ADA, and ADEA was included (emphasis added):
Oral Health Training
The Committee recommends $36,673,000 for Oral Health Training programs, which is the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $36,673,000 above the fiscal year 2018 budget request . . .
Within the funds provided, the Committee includes not less than $10,000,000 for General Dentistry Programs and not less than $10,000,000 for Pediatric Dentistry programs. The Committee directs HRSA to provide continuation funding for pre-doctoral and postdoctoral training grants initially awarded in fiscal year 2015. Within the funds provided, the Committee provides not less than $1,675,000 for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment program authorized by section 748 of the Public Health Service Act. The Committee directs HRSA to provide continuation funding for grants initially awarded in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. (pp. 22-23)
The bill also encourages interprofressional training:
"In carrying out the various workforce programs authorized by Title VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act, including the Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program, the Committee supports efforts by the Bureau of Health Workforce to include interprofessional education as a component in funding announcements, particularly with respect to programs that address student and faculty learning as well as clinical site readiness." (pg. 22)
A full copy of the report is available at: https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/23920.pdf. Language related to Title VII and VIII is on pages 21-24, and the Title VII/Title VIII funding tables are on pages 178-179.
The AAPD acknowledges the efforts of Congressional Liaison Dr. Heber Simmons Jr. and the firm of Hogan Lovells in obtaining this outcome. The AAPD also thanks all members who advocated for this funding during the 2017 AAPD Public Policy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. For further information, please contact AAPD Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel C. Scott Litch at firstname.lastname@example.org.