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House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) said we “need to act now” to address the expected shortage of physicians and “that starts with keeping our teaching hospitals strong so you can train the next generation of physicians.” 

Crowley and Ryan Costello (R-PA) have introduced AHA-supported legislation that would add 15,000 Medicare-funded residency positions to alleviate physician shortages that threaten patients’ access to care. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 2267) 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, and those that emphasize training physicians in community-based or outpatient hospital settings. At least half of the new slots would be for specialty residency programs with shortages.

“It is clear that we all benefit from a better and stronger physician workforce,” Crowley said. 

In addition, Crowley, who serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, spoke about how hospitals are embracing their role in “caring for the whole patient” and that is keeping people healthier.  

[For additional highlights from the AHA Annual Membership meeting, click here.] 

“At a time when we are looking for new and better ways to provide health care, many of you are setting the model for a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care, by housing physicians, pharmacists, nurses and a multitude of specialists,” while caring for all patients, he said. 

Crowley praised hospitals for their efforts in responding to disasters and their role as economic engines for their communities. He also said that when there are damaging proposals “to hurt programs” that hospitals depend on like the 340B drug savings program and disproportionate share hospital program, he will stand up for hospitals.

Crowley was introduced by Bruce Flanz, president and CEO of MediSys Health Network in New York, which includes Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.