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  • Washington Highlights

    COGME Develops Health Workforce Recommendations to Address COVID-19


    Andrew Amari, Hospital Policy and Regulatory Specialist

    The Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) met virtually on April 29 to develop recommendations to Congress, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) addressing health care workforce needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    To inform its recommendations, COGME invited panelists from stakeholder organizations to present perspectives on three topics: sustaining the existing workforce, training and accelerating the existing workforce, and preparing and integrating returning health care providers.

    AAMC Executive Vice President Atul Grover, MD, PhD, presented the AAMC’s perspective by advocating for increased safety equipment and testing, additional graduate medical education (GME) funding, and the prioritization of diversity in the workforce response. Council members supported potentially increasing GME caps but specified that doing so would only be appropriate if targeted to specialties and geographic areas of need.

    Among other stakeholders, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education presented on integrating telehealth into the core competencies, and the National Governors Association presented on making certain temporary regulatory changes relating to interstate practice permanent.

    Following the panelist presentations, COGME developed and unanimously approved the following five draft recommendations:

    • Sustain and increase the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cap flexibility for new and existing residency programs in specialties and geographic areas of need.
    • Bolster telehealth infrastructure.
    • Stabilize and provide financial relief for vulnerable practices and critical access hospitals.
    • Strengthen and modernize the public health/preventive medicine workforce and infrastructure.
    • Implement a national emergency/temporary licensure process and remove interstate restrictions on licenses (with voluntary participation by states feeding into a national repository).

    COGME intends to present its recommendations to HRSA, Congress, and HHS as soon as it finalizes the language of the agreed-upon recommendations.