Schakowsky, Burgess Introduce EMPOWER For Health Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip, and Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. today announced the introduction of H.R. 2781, the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019. This legislation is designed to increase access to health care in underserved areas and diversify the health care providers to meet the needs of different populations. It will reauthorize the Title VII health professions education and training programs from Fiscal Year 2020 through Fiscal Year 2024.

“By 2032, the United States may face a shortage of over 100,000 physicians. And if health care access were equitable across race, health insurance coverage, and geographic location, we would require almost 100,000 more physicians today. That is unacceptable for our growing, aging population, for children, and for all vulnerable communities,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Today I am proud to introduce the bipartisan EMPOWER for Health Act, which will finally reauthorize critical Title VII funding to increase access to providers in underserved areas and ensure a more diverse health care workforce able to meet the needs of our entire population.”

“By supporting physician workforce programs, the EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019 will ensure that patients in North Texas and around the country have access to skilled physicians and medical professionals – regardless of where they live,” said Congressman Burgess. “This legislation reauthorizes key Title VII funding, which increases access to physicians and other providers in underserved areas, and promotes training opportunities for physicians to maintain and improve their skills. This bipartisan legislation has broad support, and I urge the Energy and Commerce Committee to consider it soon.”

A summary of the bill is available HERE. The EMPOWER for Health Act will provide loan repayment for health professionals that agree to work at least two years in pediatric medicine. It also promotes diversity in health care workforce, and promotes enrollment in primary care, geriatric, and dentistry programs.

“As the United States faces an unprecedented shortage of physicians, the HRSA Title VII health professions pipeline, education, and training programs are critical in helping shape and prepare our nation’s health workforce to address new and emerging public health challenges in rural and other underserved communities across the country,” said the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). “We applaud this bipartisan reauthorization for recognizing the importance of these programs and the need to increase the federal investment in our nation’s health workforce infrastructure.”

“The EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019 is a much-needed, greatly welcomed step to help improve nationwide shortages of pediatric subspecialists, who treat some of the most vulnerable, medically complex children. These children often face long wait times or have to travel long distances to access the care they need,” said Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “By reauthorizing the important Pediatric Subspecialty Loan Repayment Program, the EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019 will help improve access to care by increasing the number of pediatric subspecialists and child and adolescent mental health providers who practice in underserved areas. The bill also reauthorizes essential programs that support primary care training. The American Academy of Pediatrics appreciates the commitment of Rep. Schakowsky and Rep. Burgess to promote a health care workforce equipped to meet the needs of America’s children.”

“The National Association for Geriatric Education (NAGE) is pleased to see the introduction of the EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019, which includes authorization of the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) and the Geriatric Academic Career Awards (GACA) program.  The nation faces a shortage of geriatric health professionals and direct service workers, and the GWEP sites and GACAs have improved the supply, distribution, diversity, capabilities, and quality of health care professionals who care for our nation’s growing older adult population, including the underserved and minorities. GWEPs also provide training to family caregivers, who are a critical support for many older adults.” stated the President of the NAGE, Catherine Carrico, with the Wyoming Center on Aging.

Nancy Lundbejerg added, “the American Geriatrics Society commends Congresswoman Schakowsky’s leadership in support of quality care for older Americans. This bill strengthens programs aimed at addressing the current shortage of health professionals expertly trained to care for older people, and also advances supports for older adults, caregivers, and the interprofessional teams responsible for delivering high-quality care. At a time when our nation is facing a severe shortage of both geriatrics healthcare providers and faculty with the expertise to train these providers, the number of educational and training opportunities in geriatrics and gerontology must be expanded, not reduced.”




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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills