FY18 Omnibus Appropriations and Health Centers
On March 22, 2018, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion FY18 Omnibus Appropriations bill which provides firm funding for the federal government through September 30, 2018. The bill provides $654.6 billion for defense and national security, and $589.5 billion for investments in critical priorities such as education, health care, roads and bridges. Nearly $3.3 billion dedicated to battle the opioid crisis and improve access to mental health treatment, including a new $1 billion State Opioid Response Grant program and an additional $160 million for the SAMHSA Mental Health Block Grant.
The FY18 spending bill provides a historic $1.626 billion in discretionary 330 grant funding (an increase of more than $300 million) to expand primary care access at health centers across the country. In addition, $200 million in Section 330 grant dollars will go towards quality improvement or service expansion grants to support behavioral health, mental health, or substance use disorder services, and replenishes the Health Center Loan Guarantee Program with $20 million, which will leverage up to $743.5 million in private loan activity.
In regards to workforce development, National Health Service Corps (NHSC) received $415 million in mandatory and discretionary spending, which includes an additional $105 million to expand the delivery of substance use disorder treatment services. The bill also creates a new $350 million Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) fund, to provide relief to PSLF applicants who are ineligible for PSLF due to choosing the wrong student loan repayment option.