Medical Education

Our need for physicians is growing, as mounting shortages threaten access to care.

In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress anticipated a surplus of physicians and capped the number of Medicare-funded physician training positions. The freeze has severely limited hospitals' ability to train the next generation of providers and has contributed to a shortage of physicians, especially in behavioral health, primary care and general surgery.

The AHA supports passage of legislation to increase the number of residency positions eligible for Medicare direct graduate medical education and indirect medical education support by 15,000 slots above the current cap, thereby helping to alleviate physician shortages that threaten patients’ access to care.

The purpose of GME funding is to ensure an adequate supply of well-trained physicians. However, the current cap on residency slots, established in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, restricts the number of slots for which hospitals may receive direct GME funding. A cap also limits the number of residents that hospitals may include in their ratio of residents-to-beds, which affects IME payments.

This web page explains the need for additional Medicare-supported residency slots and contains resources.

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