Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and John Katko, R-N.Y., today introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (H.R. 1763) that would add up to 15,000 Medicare-funded residency positions over five years, similar to an AHA-supported bill (S. 348) introduced last month in the Senate. 
 
Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill would distribute one third of the new positions to hospitals that already exceed their Medicare-funded residency cap by at least 10 residents. The bill would prioritize the distribution of the remaining new residency positions to teaching hospitals as follows: hospitals in states with new medical schools or branch campuses; hospitals affiliated with Veterans Affairs medical centers; hospitals that emphasize training in community-based settings or hospital outpatient departments; non-rural hospitals that operate an approved "rural track" program; and all other hospitals. The number of Medicare-funded residency slots has been frozen at 1996 levels since the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. 
 
"America's teaching hospitals serve a unique and critical role in the nation's health care system," said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. "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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