The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security today convened to examine the nation’s health care workforce shortages and potential legislative and other solutions.
Testifying were representatives of the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Medical Association, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, and University of New England.
Participants generally agreed that shortages in the health care workforce are a crisis, perceiving a dire need for more doctors, nurses, behavioral health specialists and other health care workers, and a better strategy and more funding for training health care professionals. Witnesses discussed current programs that address these issues and potential solutions, as well as ways to bring more diversity into the field and address health inequities.
Subcommittee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he intends to work with committee members on a bipartisan proposal to address these workforce shortages and concerns. Sanders said he supports allocating half of any new residency slots created for primary care.
AHA recently voiced support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021 (S. 834), legislation that would add 14,000 Medicare-funded residency positions to alleviate physician shortages that threaten patients’ access to care.