Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) last week introduced a Senate companion to the AHA-supported Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 1301), legislation that would add 15,000 Medicare-funded residency positions to alleviate physician shortages that threaten patients’ access to care. Introduced in the House last month, the legislation outlines a hierarchy for distributing the new positions, prioritizing teaching hospitals that are currently training residents in excess of their cap, those in states with newly opened medical schools, those that emphasize training physicians in community-based or outpatient hospital settings, and those that operate a rural training track. At least half of the new slots would be for specialty residency programs with shortages. “We believe this approach responsibly addresses the nation’s urgent need for additional physicians,” AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said in a letter of support to the Senate sponsors.

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