Federal Policy Agenda 1-21-10

Federal Policy Agenda 1-21-10
The University of Kansas Medical Center prepares students for leadership roles in today's dynamic health care
environment in Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. We offer more than 3,100 students an
innovative curriculum and patient-centered clinical training in partnership with many institutions, including The
University of Kansas Hospital. KU Medical Center is also recognized as a leader in biomedical and public health
research within the city, state and region. However, the recent unprecedented state budget cuts have put our
institution’s forward motion in jeopardy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has proven to
be critical in stabilizing funding for higher education during this difficult economic time. KUMC’s federal policy
agenda includes:
Support for National Institutes
of Health (NIH) funding as we
continue to build on our strong
research efforts. Federal support
for life sciences research is crucial
for discovering new cures and
treatments for disease, as well as
for propelling economic growth.
The primary federal support for
medical research comes from
NIH-funded grants.
KUMC NIH Funding, reflecting cuts to overall NIH funding
At KUMC, sponsored research
support over the past four years
has risen 29 percent to $98 million
in fiscal 2009. The national ranking of the KU School of Medicine has increased from 81st in fiscal year 2005
to 65th in fiscal year 2009. Since 2005, 178 new faculty positions have been created and filled, including 38
basic scientists, 15 clinical scientists and 105 clinical educators. Research faculty members recruited to new
positions include 12 professors, nine associate professors and 42 junior researchers. Over this same period,
KUMC has grown its number of MD/PhD students from three to 31. Currently, 24 out of the 25 investigators
at the Stowers Institute have KUMC faculty appointments. Unfortunately, state budget cuts have recently
slowed down faculty recruitment making NIH funding all the more critical.
This past year saw a spike in NIH funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA),
but NIH funding has otherwise remained generally flat in recent years, even declining in terms of inflation.
This has had a negative effect on many NIH programs including the Clinical and Translational Science
Award (CTSA) program, designed to help institutions increase and accelerate translational research to more
rapidly bring discoveries made in laboratories to application in health care practice, and to train new clinical
and translational researchers. The University of Kansas Medical Center applied for a CTSA in late 2009, but
the available funds at NIH will greatly restrict how many new CTSA programs may be funded in this cycle,
requiring most applicants to re-apply despite receiving meritorious scientific reviews. While Congress and
the President recently passed an additional increase for NIH funding, sustained, constant growth in the NIH
budget is essential for fostering economic growth and scientific breakthroughs.
Support for National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding as we work toward NCI designation. The top
research priority for the University of Kansas continues to be the pursuit of National Cancer Institute (NCI)
designation. Our goal is to build a world-class Cancer Center at the forefront of discovery, development, and
implementation of knowledge, technology, and novel therapeutic agents for the treatment and prevention of
cancer. NCI designation would mean greater access to cutting edge clinical trials for local patients, and
independent analysis suggests that NCI designation would mean thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for
the local economy. Critical to our efforts is the procurement of equipment and facilities necessary to reach
our goal. Our federal delegation has been helpful in these efforts, and thus far this year KU received $5.5
million in federal appropriations for equipment and facilities.
Support for expanding the Health Care Workforce and Graduate Medical Education. Expanded health
insurance coverage, a major emphasis in federal health reform, will require developing a health care
workforce sufficient to handle increased demand, particularly for primary care services. In Kansas and across
the country, we face shortages of physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals like physical therapists
and occupational therapists. This is especially true in rural areas. A national, coordinated, well-planned
effort to develop health workforce policy is essential to ensure that workforce challenges are met. In addition,
federal workforce programs like those in place through Title VII and Title VIII of the Public Health Service
Act, as well as the National Health Service Corps program, have been effective in focusing on areas of need
as we face a rising demand in health care services. In addition, specific to the physician workforce, both the
House and Senate health care reform bills address the current cap on residency slots supported by Medicare
funding. However, both bills only go so far as to redistribute the system’s unused residency slots, which is
unlikely to benefit Kansas under the listed criteria. Increasing the amount of total residency slots is crucial to
meet the need for additional physicians.
Primary Care Residents being trained at the University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas City
- Family Medicine
- General Pediatrics
- Geriatric
- Internal Medicine
- Med/Peds
Primary Care Sub-total
- General Surgery
All Primary Care Residents
Ensuring routine coverage of health care costs for those who participate in clinical trials. A growing
number of states have implemented rules or established agreements requiring health plans to cover the routine
costs for health care services when a patient participates in a clinical trial. However, not all states have these
rules or agreements, and those that do exist vary in terms. A requirement that health plans cover the cost of
routine health care services that a patient would otherwise receive would help ensure fullest participation in
clinical trials, which is critical to a number of important research efforts, including our Clinical Translational
Science Unit (CTSU) and our NCI designation efforts.
Support for general higher education policy. The University of Kansas is the only Association of
American Universities (AAU) institution in the state, and works closely with the AAU as well as the
Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) on federal policy issues impacting higher education
institutions. These issues include support for expansion of the Pell Grant program and other federal direct
lending programs, support for expanded funding for basic and applied research, and support for educating
tomorrow’s workforce.