Funding National Health Workforce Commission Key to Meeting Community and Rural Health Workforce Needs

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 General News
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Challenges Facing Health Professions Require Comprehensive, National Policy and Action

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The establishment of the National Health Care Workforce Commission is an important first step to developing a comprehensive and coordinated national health workforce strategy.  But, according to the Association of Academic
Health Centers (AAHC), the Commission needs to be funded so it can fulfill its mission to advise and engage Congress in addressing vital health workforce policies that can resolve current and future health profession shortages.  "The AAHC is committed to supporting the Commission and is concerned with its lack of funding and subsequent inability to move forward," said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, AAHC President and CEO.  "Without the Commission's actions in analyzing and recommending reasonable and responsive national health workforce policy focused on shortages and saving costs, the nation's health workforce cannot meet the current needs in underserved areas and the future needs of an aging population."

The AAHC continues to urge Congress to take affirmative steps necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities.  

  1. Provide adequate funding:  Congressional leaders should include a $3 million appropriation in FY2012 for the Commission, enabling it to begin its crucial work, as the need for action to provide adequate healthcare and reduce costs is urgent.  
  2. Set high expectations:  Congressional leaders should urge the Commission to adopt an ambitious agenda to develop and submit recommendations for policy makers in order to decisively address the accelerating challenges facing the nation's health workforce and the country's underserved populations.
  3. Actively engage the Commission on a regular basis:  Congressional leaders should engage the Commission through briefings, hearings, and other forms of public discourse throughout the year to elevate the Commission's visibility, hold Commission members accountable, and encourage dialogue about health workforce shortages.

"The AAHC looks forward to the Commission being funded, moving forward, and developing the necessary recommendations to address historically fragmented and ineffective health workforce policies that undermine accessible healthcare now and threaten to continue to do so in the future," said Wartman, noting that "many of the limitations of the current, uncoordinated health workforce policies are highlighted in the AAHC's landmark report, Out of Order, Out of Time: The State of the Nation's Health Workforce."

The AAHC is a national non-profit association representing more than 100 academic health centers, with a mission to improve the nation's health care system by mobilizing and enhancing the strengths and resources of the academic health center enterprise in health professions education, patient care, and research.  

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers

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