On July 5, the AAMC submitted comments to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the proposed Pilot Program on Graduate Medical Education and Residency (PPGMER) [refer to Washington Highlights, Feb. 11]. The Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-182) permits the VA to fund PPGMER positions at non-VA health care facilities.
The program, authorized by the MISSION Act, will place no fewer than 100 residents at VA-covered facilities and fund stipends, benefits, and certain educational costs for PPGMER residents. The program will also pay for certain costs associated with new residency programs for PPGMER residents. Unless Congress extends the authority for the pilot program, the PPGMER will expire on Aug. 7, 2031.
Once the rule is finalized, the process for distributing PPGMER residents will be triggered when the VA Central Office sends requests for proposals to VA facilities. Interested facilities will respond to the RFP and indicate those non-VA or VA facilities where resident training would occur. The VA Central Office will then make placement determinations based on statutory considerations. Priority will be given to certain facilities operated by either the Indian Health Service, an American Indian tribe, a tribal organization, or covered facilities located in the same areas as VA facilities designated by the VA as underserved.
The AAMC’s comment letter supported the proposed PPGMER, highlighting the essential nature of medical schools and teaching hospitals in the training of pilot program residents. The letter also discussed the national physician workforce shortage across many specialties, an issue affecting veterans’ access to care. Finally, the AAMC requested that the VA Central Office provide a public report regarding the placement of residents.