AAMC Applauds Updated 21st Century Cures Act

NIH Innovation Account and SES Provisions Will Improve Patient Health

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement after release of the revised 21st Century Cures Act:

“The AAMC congratulates congressional leaders and authors of the 21st Century Cures Act for recognizing the importance of funding and regulatory relief for medical innovation, and addressing the role of socioeconomic status—SES—in the Medicare hospital readmission program.

The legislation establishes a 10-year NIH Innovation Account that will allow appropriators dedicated resources to invest in specific long-term research projects, such as precision medicine and cancer research. Coupled with timely enactment of the annual spending bills, this targeted funding will be an important supplement to the yearly NIH base budget increases that are essential to ensure stable and efficient progress across the spectrum of diseases. Indeed, the ultimate success of this landmark legislation will depend on continued growth in the base NIH budget by the beginning of each fiscal year. Toward that end, we urge Congress to also pass the full FY 2017 NIH appropriations of $34.1 billion before January and avoid the delays and inefficiencies that further continuing resolutions would impose on life-saving research and other public health priorities. The bill also takes important steps to address administrative burdens that detract from research progress.  

We are grateful that the package includes several other AAMC-supported provisions that will improve the ability of the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals to deliver the highest quality care to all patients. Specifically, accounting for SES in the Medicare readmissions reduction program is a critical step to supporting those teaching hospitals who treat the most vulnerable patients. We also are gratified to see that off-campus teaching hospital outpatient departments, or HOPDs, already under development will continue to receive Medicare outpatient payment rates rather than the payment cuts imposed on new outpatient departments.

While we will be reviewing the bill more closely in the coming days, we appreciate the unrelenting dedication and commitment of lawmakers to advance this important legislation and the health of America’s patients.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.