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News & Press: Advocacy

APTR Urges Support for National Health Care Workforce Commission

Wednesday, May 22, 2013  
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APTR Urges Committee on Appropriations to support the National Health Care Workforce Commission

APTR urges congress to support the President’s budget request to fully fund the National Health Care Workforce Commission at the very modest sum of $3 million. In light of large-scale fiscal challenges, the Commission’s expertise will be critical as Congress strives to channel limited available resources optimally while protecting patient access to care. An unstable fiscal environment will exacerbate the country’s shortage of health professionals and further restrict patient access to care at a time of growing demand. As Congress considers the Fiscal Year 2014 budget and a balanced approach to deficit reduction,

As the United States grapples with a deficit of physicians and other health professionals, the country lacks a comprehensive strategy to address these critical shortages. The Commission was designed as an independent body to study and advise policymakers on a broad range of workforce-related topics, including national workforce priorities and goals, current and projected workforce supply, and assessments of current and needed education and training activities to meet the demand for health care workers. Moreover, the Commission was tasked with analyzing and making recommendations to eliminate barriers surrounding disciplines and professions where demand is not being met, such as shortages of primary care practitioners; pediatric and adult specialists; and mental, dental, and public health professionals. Without an explicit appropriation, the Commission has not been able to identify obstacles that may create and exacerbate workforce shortages and improve coordination on the federal, state and local levels.

This entity’s charter has become more critical as insurance coverage is expanded and the population ages, resulting in greater demand for care.

APTR is aware of the dire fiscal situation this country faces and of the need to make difficult choices. However, we believe it is critical to fund programs such as the Commission to help this country regain fiscal stability. The National Health Care Workforce Commission will provide Congress with a necessary and comprehensive analysis of workforce issues across disciplines so lawmakers can appropriately assess the difficult choices related to health spending, rather than diverting resources indiscriminately from programs most in need, like those for physician and other health professional training.

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