Residents in graduate medical education training remain concentrated in the Northeast and urban areas, despite some growth in other regions and rural areas between 2005 and 2015, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. Requested by the chairmen of the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees, among others, the report describes changes in the number of residents by location and type of training, and federal efforts to increase GME training in rural areas and primary care. GAO said it continues to recommend that the Department of Health and Human Services develop a comprehensive and coordinated planning approach to guide its health care workforce development programs and address gaps in national needs. “While studies have reached different conclusions about the nature and extent of physician shortages, the federal government has reported shortages in rural areas and projects a deficit of over 20,000 primary care physicians by 2025,” the report notes. AHA supports the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 1301/H.R. 2267), bipartisan legislation that would add 15,000 Medicare-funded residency positions over five years to alleviate physician shortages, which threaten patients’ access to care.

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