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  • ACOEM Supports Increasing Funding Level for HRSA’s Preventive Medicine Residency Program

    September 7, 2010 

    The Honorable Dave Obey, Chairman
    Committee on Appropriations
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515
    The Honorable Jerry Lewis
    Ranking Member
    Committee on Appropriations
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515

     

    Re:  FY 2011 -- Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services [HHS], and Education, and Related Agencies.

    Dear Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Lewis:

    I am writing on behalf of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) to request that the FY 2011 appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services [HHS], and Education, and Related Agencies include $12.3 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Preventive Medicine Residency Program.  This would increase the funding base from for preventive medicine residency programs from $2.3 million to $12.3 million annually

    This essential funding is needed in order to meet the growing need for preventive medicine physicians, which includes three areas of specialty: occupational medicine, general preventive medicine and public health, aerospace medicine. Few preventive medicine residency programs receive Medicare graduate medical education (GME) dollars; thus, most programs struggle for basic funding. The result is too few training slots to meet the real need.   

    For occupational medicine (OM), this funding will help supplement the limited funding for OM residency training provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Today’s available resources (including both public and private funds) results in production of fewer than 70 new board certified occupational physicians annually.   

    Trained occupational medicine specialists are vital to ensure that America’s employed population is protected from work-related injuries and illnesses. An estimated 110 million Americans go to work every day. Physicians who specialize in occupational medicine parallel the general public health system in dealing with illnesses and injuries in workplace populations, including health promotion and combating the incidence rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. In the new global economy, occupational physicians are being asked to fulfill new, demanding roles: to  maintain workforce health and productivity, to ensure workplace preparedness against disasters, and to manage health care expenditures.  

    An example of the need is in the military and the VA system.  There is an increased demand for residency trained OM physicians to support the mission of active duty military service members in all branches of the military, and returning veterans in the VA system.  The current pipeline of residency trained OM physicians is not projected to meet need for the military and the VA in the years ahead. 

    Thank you for considering this request to expand training opportunities for preventive medicine physicians and our national response to disease prevention. 

    Sincerely,
    Hartenbaum
    Natalie P. Hartenbaum, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    President