On Monday, August 6, representatives in Congress introduced a bill that would expand the number of Medicare-sponsored training slots for new doctors in an effort to mitigate the projected physician shortage.
The bill, titled the Physician Shortage Reduction and Graduate Medical Education Accountability and Transparency Act, would create 15,000 additional Medicare-sponsored residency training slots and contribute 4,000 additional doctors per year. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the new stream of doctors would cut the predicted physician shortage by one-third.
According to AAMC estimates, the country faces a shortage of more than 90,000 physicians by 2020 and more than 130,000 by 2025. The nation’s medical schools plan to increase enrollment by 30% by 2016, but without residency training slots, they will not be able to enter the workforce. The bill would increase the cap on residency slots that Congress imposed in 1997 and also establish objectives that would measure how well residency programs performed. Top physician groups including the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the AAMC support the bill.
“The new residency positions created by this legislation, along with the thoughtful approach to achieving transparency and accountability for graduate medical education, represent the beginning of a comprehensive strategy to make sure Americans have access to the care they need,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., AAMC President and CEO in a written response.