The AHA today urged lawmakers to refrain from altering the Medicare graduate medical education financing structure to reduce direct or indirect payments to hospitals that train physicians and other health care professionals for the demands of a changing health care environment. “Each of these payments serves a distinct purpose,” noted AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack, responding to an open letter by the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee requesting information on GME. In addition, AHA encouraged the committee “to consider requiring all payers to contribute to GME financing in an effort to provide a more stable environment for physician clinical training.” Among other recommendations, AHA urged the committee “to end the 18-year freeze on the number of physician training positions that Medicare funds and to support the creation of at least 15,000 new residency positions,” as proposed in the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY). “The current limit on Medicare financing of residency slots, set in 1997, is not appropriately meeting the nation’s health care needs and must be lifted in a thoughtful manner,” AHA said.

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