Sending Office: Honorable Ann M. Kuster
Sent By:
Kevin.Diamond@mail.house.gov

Support the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demo Program

UPDATED Deadline: Noon March 25

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in requesting the funding necessary to start the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration Program in fiscal year 2020 L-HHS appropriations.

The SUD Workforce Training Demo Program was authorized as part of the 21st Century Cures Act at $10 million per year. The program was designed to enable the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to award grants to institutions
such as medical schools and Federally qualified health centers to support training for medical residents and fellows in psychiatry and addiction medicine, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and others in support of effective SUD treatment
in underserved communities. While authorized by the Cures Act, this crucial program
was never started because it was never funded. 

Our letter requests the full authorized amount for FY 2020, $10 million, finally creating the program. The country lacks the physicians and clinicians with the requisite knowledge and training to provide effective and clinically appropriate SUD treatment.
In fact, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Abuse and the Opioid Epidemic recommended increasing the nation’s accredited fellowship slots to 125 by 2022.

The opioid epidemic has shown us all that our addiction workforce is lacking and this modest investment will be a significant step in addressing this gap in the country’s national strategy. Not only is addiction workforce development crucial to combat the
opioid epidemic and other current crises, it is crucial for our communities to remain prepared for any future addiction crisis. The grants provided by this program will help establish academic programs that provide the necessary training to physicians and
other clinicians that we need on the frontlines treating Americans suffering from this disease of the brain. 

To support the expansion of the SUD workforce and sign on our letter, please contact Kevin Diamond (Kuster) at 5-5206 or
Kevin.Diamond@mail.house.gov, Jennifer Wood (Katko) at 5-3701 or
Jennifer.Wood@mail.house.gov, or Laura Driscoll (Delgado) at 5-5614 or
Laura.Driscoll@mail.house.gov. The deadline to sign the letter is
Noon on March 25.

Sincerely,

Ann McLane Kuster

Member of Congress

John Katko
Member of Congress

Anthony Delgado

Member of Congress

 

March XX, 2019

 

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Chairwoman

Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education & Related Agencies

U.S. House Appropriations Committee

2358 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Tom Cole

Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education & Related Agencies

U.S. House Appropriations Committee

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairwoman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole:

Due to your leadership, Congress appropriated more than $4 billion to address the opioid overdose crisis in the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. But there is much more to do in our nation’s
battle against substance use disorder (SUD) – particularly regarding the severe shortage of physicians, nurses, and other health care workers who are on the front lines of this crisis.

There are simply too few physicians and other clinicians with the requisite knowledge and training to prevent, diagnose, and treat addiction––a chronic disease that, like diabetes or heart disease, requires evidence-based, clinically appropriate treatment.
An estimated 20.7 million Americans needed treatment for SUD in 2017, but only about 4 million of them received any form of such treatment. This is due in part to a shortage in this field that could reach an estimated 250,000 workers by 2025. The newly released
2019 National Drug Control Strategy recognized this need by citing “critical shortages in trained and professional addiction service providers” as a key factor contributing to the treatment gap.

The need for more certified addiction specialist physicians is especially acute. There are only about 4,400 such physicians who are actively practicing in the United States – far below the 6,000 that were needed based on an estimate in 2009, long before
the peak of the opioid overdose epidemic. In fact, as of March 2019, only 66 of our nation’s 187 accredited medical schools offer addiction medicine fellowships, and only 45 of those have met the certification criteria set by the Accreditation Council for
Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

As you consider the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-HHS appropriations bill, we urge you to include $10 million within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to create the Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration Program,
authorized in the 21st Century CURES Act.

This program will award grants to institutions such as medical schools and Federally qualified health centers to support training for medical residents and fellows in psychiatry and addiction medicine, as well as nurse practitioners, physician assistants
and others who are willing to provide SUD treatment in underserved communities.

Funding this program would allow more individuals to pursue and afford SUD treatment education and training, and significantly increase the number of qualified experts available to help the more than 20 million Americans in need of care.

We recognize the difficult task you face in balancing the many needs of our nation in the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-HHS appropriations bill, and we appreciate your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, HealthCare, Judiciary

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