IHPC Outlines Key Congressional Funding Measures for 2023
Since January, the advocacy group Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) has been pressing hard on Congress to maintain robust funding for agencies that support the integrative healthcare community.
After three months of deliberation, Congress finally passed the omnibus spending bill with additional bipartisan legislation attached. The outcome was significant allotment of funds and provisions important to hospitals, health systems, and caregivers through the end of fiscal year 2023. President Joe Biden signed it into law in the final days of 2022.
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Attachments to the bill specified Congressional priorities and plans for federal agencies to abide by through the end of the year. As per a statement from the IHPC, the following is an overview of the matters that are most significant to integrative medicine:
Long COVID Research
The agreement includes $10,000,000 for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) health systems research on how best to deliver patient-centered, coordinated care to those living with long COVID, including the development and implementation of new models of care to help treat the complexity of symptoms those with long COVID experience.
The agreement includes an additional $5,000,000 to support research into non-pharmacological treatments for pain management and urges the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), to continue to support research, including comorbidities such as opioid misuse, abuse, and disorder among military personnel, veterans, and their families.
The agreement remains deeply concerned about the epidemic of acute and chronic pain and its interrelationship with the opioid crisis. Within 180 days of the date of enactment…, the [Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)] is directed to provide the Committees a report on its progress to disseminate the HHS Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force report recommendations and an estimate of the resources required to generate a public awareness campaign on the differences between acute and chronic pain and the full range of treatment options.
Food as Medicine
The agreement directs the Secretary [of the HHS], in consultation with other federal agencies, to develop and implement a federal strategy to reduce nutrition-related chronic diseases and food insecurity and improve health and racial equity in the U.S., including diet-related research and programmatic efforts that increase Americans access to food as medicine, and healthy, nutritious, organic, and affordable foods, especially in at-risk communities. The agreement includes $2,000,000 in the Office of the Secretary to establish a Food as Medicine pilot program, an integrative model for healthcare, that addresses food insecurity, social isolation, and chronic disease to advance health and racial equity.
Veterans Administration (VA) Whole Health Program
The agreement provides $85,851,000 for Whole Health, which is $10,000,000 above the request, to continue to implement and expand the Whole Health initiative to all VA facilities. Within the total, the agreement includes $5,000,000 for creative arts therapies, as described in House Report 117-391 and consistent with the budget request. The 118th Congress convened on January 3, 2023. Congress will begin deliberating the FY 2024 appropriations bills after President Biden submits his proposed budget in February 2023.
The following is a list of key funding totals of interest to thee integrative healthcare community:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): FY 2023 $47.5 billion (versus FY 2022 $44.9 billion)
- NCCIH: FY 2023 $170.3 million (versus FY 2022 $159.3 million)
- Health Resources and Services Administration and Community Health Centers: FY 2023 $5.85 billion (versus FY 2022 5.74 billion)
- AHRQ: FY 2023 $373.5 million (versus FY 2022 $350.4 million)