The President’s FY15 budget proposal of $3.9 trillion presents few surprises. It clearly reflects the difficulty of seeking discretionary program expansion in a era of budget caps and sequester. Add mid-term elections and the precarious situation of maintaining a Democrat majority in the Senate and a rather uninspiring budget is not that surprising. While a few agencies like NIH get cursory increases no agency receives increases that replace funding lost through the sequester and the continued pressure of budget caps. For most agencies and programs maintaining funding at Bush II levels seems acceptable to the Administration.
The President recommends a feeble $6.4 billion total budget reduction through cuts, consolidations and savings. His recommendations include two popular health professions education programs authorized through Title VII of the Public Health Service Act: Area Health Education Program; and the Health Careers Opportunity Program.
For those interested in the details information about specific program funding is available in the budget Appendix. AACP staff will continue to update FY15 funding tables that are available on the AACP advocacy Web page.
Given the rather bland budget, it is disappointing that graduate and professional students are once again singled out for further harassment for their pursuit of higher learning and the higher cost associated with that learning. The President proposes (see page 363) expanding the Pay As You Earn program to all borrowers. This expansion recommends increasing the current loan limit of $30,000 in loan debt for holders of Direct Loans to $57,500. For borrowers with balances less than $57,500 the monthly payment cap of 10% of discretionary income and the payoff period of 20 years would remain the same. For borrowers with debt exceeding $57,500 the cap would be removed and the payoff period for loan forgiveness would increase to 25 years.
State authorization requires student complaint process: The U.S. Department of Education published a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that clarifies two important points related to state authorization. The DCL dated February 27, 2014. The DCL reminds institutions that: 1) the institution must be authorized to operate in the state in which it is located; and 2) every State must have a process, applicable to all institutions other than tribal and federal, to review complaints brought against the authorized institution.
340b opportunity: From HRSA-
"Greetings! I want to inform you about an opportunity that your membership may find valuable. We are currently accepting applications for our 340B Peer-to-Peer Program, which, along with other tangible benefits, includes $20,000 stipend to 340B entities to support their clinical pharmacy services.
We would like to request the following to help our Peer-to-Peer program reach more people and increase knowledge of the 340B Drug Pricing Program:
Please let your membership know of this important opportunity and valuable resource in your different membership communications.
Share the attached postcard and application information with others that you feel would benefit from this valuable information.
Encourage your members to sign-up for the monthly Peer-to-Peer newsletter.
To learn more about the 340B Peer-to-Peer Program, visit the HRSA Web site.
Renewed effort for Medicare payment: In the continued pursuit to have Medicare pay for pharmacist delivered services- as it does for other health and behavioral professionals- there is a new coalition to help move us in that direction. AACP and a number of other pharmacy professional organizations have joined chain and independent pharmacies in the Patient Access to Pharmacist Services Coalition. The new coalition picks up on the work initiated by Walgreens in their effort to improve access of Medicare beneficiaries living in underserved areas to pharmacist delivered services.
Low-point of the day! Here is why Congress comes by its low approval rating honestly: http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/issa-cuts-off-cummings/
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Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education and educators. Comprising all accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy including more than 6,400 faculty, 57,000 students enrolled in professional programs and 5,700 individuals pursuing graduate study, AACP is committed to excellence in pharmacy education.