Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) June 7 introduced the Resident Physician Reduction Act of 2017 (S. 1301), a companion bill to the House bill (HR 2267), which was filed May 1 by Representatives Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Ryan Costello (R-Pa.). The bill is aimed at alleviating the impending doctor shortage by providing 15,000 federally supported residency positions over a five year period.
In a statement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, applauded the introduction of the legislation, “This targeted bipartisan legislation, along with companion legislation introduced in the House last month, takes much-needed steps toward ensuring that all Americans will have access to the health care they need. However, legislation alone will not relieve the doctor shortage. As part of a multi-pronged approach, America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals continue to invest in physician and health care provider training and lead innovations in care delivery to create more efficient patient care.”
The legislation, similar to bills introduced in previous congresses, is unique in that it is bipartisan. Senator Heller sponsored the legislation because Nevada is particularly negatively impacted by the physician shortage. In a statement, Senator Heller explained, “While the number of medical school graduates from Nevada’s universities continues to rise, the state does not currently have enough residency positions to keep pace with those graduates in Nevada…[t]he Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act increases the number of hospital residency positions available to address the doctor shortage, particularly in our rural communities, and improve the quality of care patients receive.”
Senator Nelson also praised the legislation for addressing the pressing physician shortage. He said, “Florida’s population continues to grow and, as a result, we now have more people seeking care than ever before…[w]e have to train more doctors now to meet this growing demand and ensure that people are getting the care they need, when they need it.”
The legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.