In an effort to better support federal medical research activities and emerging clinical/translational research programs at NIH, AANEM is joining the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Coalition. This is a group of stakeholder organizations mainly comprised of professional societies and patient groups that actively advocate for the mission of NIAMS. Many of the groups (particularly patient organizations) that participate in this effort have a vested interest in ensuring optimal care in EDX medicine and share overlapping priorities with AANEM beyond NIH-supported research.
Stakeholder organizations and congressional offices continue to engage with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to promote collaboration that advances policies to reduce fraud and abuse in EDX medicine while promoting access to quality care. AANEM continues to reach out to and cooperate with various organizations that have an interest in this space. As our voice grows, CMS is increasingly responsive to calls for demonstrating progress in this area. A key ally in this overall outreach effort has been congressional offices that take an interest in liaising with CMS after they learn of the current state of affairs and the potential outcomes for affected individuals locally.
Congress continues to move forward with efforts to craft revised spending bills and an overall Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations package. The budget deal negotiated by former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) added about $40 billion in federal spending for both FY 2016 and FY 2017. While negotiations are ongoing, it appears that increased overall spending is trickling down to higher allocations for federal medical research and patient care programs, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Headwinds certainly remain for enactment of an end-of-the year appropriations deal with increased spending, but the research and public health community is cautiously optimistic that NIH will ultimately receive a meaningful funding increases for FY 2016. Advancing a contentious and comprehensive spending deal with a myriad of priorities and pitfalls for both parties in Congress as well as the administration may be the first true test for the new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI).