The AHA today expressed support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, 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.
 
“Your legislation outlines a hierarchy for distributing the new slots, 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,” AHA said in a letter to the bill’s sponsors – Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., John Boozman, R-Ark., and Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. “At least half of the new slots would be allotted to shortage specialty residency programs as identified by the Health Resources and Services Administration. We believe this approach responsibly addresses the nation’s urgent need for additional physicians.”
 
AHA also applauded a provision of the bill that directs the Government Accountability Office to recommend to Congress strategies for increasing the diversity of the health professions workforce.

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