AACOM Endorses Legislation To Increase GME Slots
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) has endorsed legislation recently introduced by U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) to address the nation’s physician workforce shortage by creating 15,000 new graduate medical education (GME) slots.
“A doctor shortage is something we just can’t ignore. It’s time for Congress to act, which is why I’ve introduced legislation to lift the outdated cap on the number of new doctors that can be trained," Congressman Crowley said. "This is a nationwide problem, and the path to ensuring all Americans have access to high-quality, well-trained physicians is through the strengthening of graduate medical education programs.”
AACOM President and CEO Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, commends Representative Crowley for his leadership on and introduction of this legislation, which Dr. Shannon says is “vitally important in helping to ensure that the nation’s growing numbers of medical school graduates have the residency opportunities they need to complete their education and join the physician workforce.”
The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2012 would create 3,000 new GME slots per year for five years. Each hospital would be restricted to a maximum of 75 additional slots per fiscal year, and at least 25 percent of the hospitals’ residents would be required to be in primary care and general surgery. Hospital eligibility would be determined annually by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The bill would also require the yet-to-be funded National Health Care Workforce Commission to conduct a study of the physician workforce to identify shortage specialties. In addition, the Comptroller General would be required to conduct a study on how to increase the diversity of the health professional workforce. The study would include strategies on how to increase the number of health professionals from rural, lower income, and underrepresented minority communities.
“If we can both increase diversity in the medical student population, and help new graduates return to their communities by increasing residency opportunities there, we will make great strides toward solving today’s health care issues,” said Dr. Shannon. "With their specific focus on graduating physicians to serve in primary care, osteopathic medical schools will be particularly well-suited to partner in these efforts."
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine promotes excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and fosters innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.