The AHA yesterday expressed support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (H.R. 1763), a bill 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, and those that emphasize training physicians in community-based or outpatient hospital settings,” AHA said in a letter to the bill’s sponsors – Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and John Kato, R-N.Y. “At least half of the new slots would be for specialty residency programs with shortages. 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.
 
AHA last month expressed support for a similar bill in the Senate sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., John Boozman, R-Ark., and Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.
 

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