Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., John Boozman, R-Ark., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., today introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, AHA-supported legislation that would add 15,000 Medicare-funded residency positions over five years to alleviate physician shortages that threaten patients' access to care. The number of Medicare-funded slots has been frozen at 1996 levels since the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.
 
The legislation would prioritize the distribution of the new residency positions to teaching hospitals as follows: hospitals in states with new medical schools or branch campuses; hospitals exceeding their graduate medical education residency slot cap; hospitals affiliated with Veterans Affairs medical centers; hospitals that emphasize training in community-based settings or hospital outpatient departments; hospitals that operate an approved “rural track” program in a non-rural area; and all other hospitals.
 
“America’s teaching hospitals serve a unique and critical role in the nation’s health care system,” said Erik Rasmussen, AHA vice president of federal relations. “They not only train future health care professionals but also conduct medical research and serve a distinct and vital role in delivering patient care. The current freeze on the number of physician training positions that Medicare funds has severely limited hospitals’ ability to train the next generation of physicians. Adding these positions will help ensure patients have access to needed care.”

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