HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra defended President Biden’s FY 2022 budget request for HHS at several Congressional committee hearings last week. Secretary Becerra and members of the committees discussed numerous issues pertinent to hospitals and other health care providers, including prescription drugs, telehealth expansion, behavioral health, graduate medical education (GME), and health care coverage and access.
Secretary Becerra said HHS would issue additional guidance and flexibility on the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) at several hearings. HHS then released the revised PRF reporting guidance, which GNYHA outlined in FB-29.
During a Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the lead sponsor of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021 (S. 834), asked Secretary Becerra about the regulatory implementation of the 1,000 Medicare-supported residency positions created by legislation Congress passed last December and efforts to further expand GME in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Secretary Becerra responded that he supported GME and initiatives to encourage physicians to train in hospitals located in underserved and rural areas.
The GME conversation is available here. We are grateful to Senator Menendez for highlighting the critical need for Federal support for additional residency positions and for his leadership overall on GME.