House OKs Burgess’ bipartisan measure to bolster health professions workforce

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) on Oct. 28 applauded passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of bipartisan legislation he introduced to reauthorize funding for programs designed to strengthen America’s health professions workforce.

“This legislation reauthorizes the Title VII health professions workforce programs through 2024,” said Rep. Burgess, ranking member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. “Reauthorizing Title VII programs is long overdue, especially in a time when our existing physician workforce is struggling to keep up with demand for health care services.”

The House on Monday gave approval to the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019, H.R. 2781, which Rep. Burgess cosponsored in May with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) to reauthorize federal funding for Area Health Education Centers, among other programs.

Staff at Area Health Education Centers provide both medical education and healthcare services to people in medically underserved areas.

H.R. 2781 also would reauthorize funds for the Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program, which provides grants to hospitals and health professional schools to develop and operate supplemental primary care training programs, according to a bill summary released by Rep. Burgess’ office.

The other Title VII programs that would receive funding under the bill include Centers of Excellence; Health Professions Training for Diversity; Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry; the National Center for Healthcare Workforce Analysis; and the Public Health Workforce, among others.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate received H.R. 2781 and referred it for consideration to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“As the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee last Congress, I made it a priority to get this bill across the House floor,” Rep. Burgess said. “While I succeeded in doing so, the Senate did not take up the legislation. I hope this year, the Senate will reauthorize these critically important programs.”