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On the Hill: Health Care Workforce Legislation Introduced

Julia Grady
April 16, 2024

Association-endorsed legislation to ease workforce shortages with federal grants to help internationally educated health care professionals overcome barriers to entering the U.S. workforce was introduced last week in the Senate.

The Welcome Back to the Health Care Workforce Act, which Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced April 9, would create a grant program administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration. “At a time when I’m hearing from hospitals and other health care employers about how difficult it is to find workers, we should be making it easier for these individuals to enter the health care workforce,” Kaine said in a news release.

Hearing Examines Telehealth Permanency

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health met last week to consider telehealth permanency and related legislation, including the association-endorsed Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act. Lawmakers and the hearing’s witnesses largely supported extending current COVID-19–era telehealth flexibility past the end of 2024, when the provisions are set to expire. But consensus on how to do that in a way that guards against waste, abuse, and fraud has yet to form.

The hearing came as Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) shifted to a seat on the subcommittee. He has a track record of championing telehealth legislation and co-chairs the recently formed, bipartisan Congressional Digital Health Caucus.

Also last week, the Senate Committee on Finance Subcommittee on Health Care held a hearing that considered various policy issues related to the treatment of substance use disorders. The Senate Committee on Finance met to consider Medicare physician payment reform and how the program can motivate providers to best treat and manage chronic conditions.

Committee Activity This Week   

The House and Senate are in session Monday through Thursday, with the latter also convening Friday.  

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing April 16, at 10 am ET, titled, “Examining Health Sector Cybersecurity in the Wake of the Change Healthcare Attack”; and another April 17, at 2 pm ET, titled, “Fiscal Year 2025 Department of Health and Human Services Budget.” The committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing April 16, at 10:30 am ET, titled, “Examining How Improper Payments Cost Taxpayers Billions and Weaken Medicare and Medicaid.” 

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing April 16, at 10:15 am ET, titled “ERISA’s 50th Anniversary: The Path To Higher Quality, Lower Cost Health Care.”  

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security will hold a hearing April 17, at 2:30 pm ET, titled, “Feeding a Healthier America: Current Efforts and Potential Opportunities for Food is Medicine.”

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