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Congress Passes Historic GME Expansion

December 23, 2020

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CONTACTS
Allyson Perleoni, Senior Legislative Analyst
Leonard Su

Congress passed a historic increase to the Medicare graduate medical education (GME) program on Monday, Dec. 21 — the first increase to the program in nearly 25 years. The expansion was part of the year-end Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 [see related story].

AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, released a statement on the inclusion of the GME positions, stating that the “new residency positions supported by this legislation are a necessary and critical first step in training enough physicians to care for our growing and aging population. …While the nation’s teaching hospitals will continue to invest their own resources to train physicians over their caps, these new slots will alleviate some of the pressure they have been facing and will allow them to increase training.”

The legislation includes 1,000 new Medicare-supported GME positions. In the distribution of these new residency positions, the slots will be prioritized to teaching hospitals in rural areas, hospitals training residents over their cap, hospitals in states with new medical schools, and hospitals that care for underserved communities. The legislation also includes fixes to enhance Rural Training Track programs to increase collaboration between rural and urban teaching hospitals while residents gain experience in providing care in rural communities. It also makes an adjustment to artificially low Medicare caps and per resident amounts that limit residency training in some hospitals through no fault of their own.

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