Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021 in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 26.
Upon its introduction, the AAMC issued a press release supporting the legislation, stating that “the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the vital role that physicians and all health care providers play in our nation’s health care infrastructure and has laid bare the need for a more robust number of physicians to provide appropriate patient care to communities across the country. This bill builds upon the historic investment made in December 2020 when bipartisan congressional leaders took the first step, in over two decades, to address the physician shortage by adding 1,000 new Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) positions targeted at rural and other teaching hospitals nationwide.”
The legislation would provide 14,000 new Medicare graduate medical education (GME) slots over seven years. In determining which hospitals would receive slots, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would be required to consider the likelihood of a teaching hospital filling positions and would be required to distribute at least 10% of the slots to the following categories of hospital:
- Hospitals in rural areas.
- Hospitals training over their current GME caps.
- Hospitals in states with new medical schools or new branch campuses.
- Hospitals that serve areas designated as health professional shortage areas.
The legislative language builds on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260), which provided 1,000 new Medicare-supported GME positions — the first such increase in nearly 25 years [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 23, 2020].
The Senate version of the legislation (S.834) was introduced by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on March 19 [see Washington Highlights, March 19].