The AAMC and over 60 other supporting health care stakeholder organizations sent a letter on July 9 to congressional leadership urging the inclusion of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (S. 348/H.R. 1763) in the next COVID-19 emergency supplemental legislation. The signatories on the letter reflect a diverse group of stakeholders, including physician, hospital, and specialty organizations.
The letter urges leadership to “take action now to better prepare the nation for its next health care crisis” by expanding the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) positions in the next COVID-19 emergency supplemental legislation. It emphasizes that demand for physicians is growing faster than supply and that the AAMC’s recently updated workforce projections indicate the physician shortage is expected to reach between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians by 2033. The letter urges congressional leaders to “ensure patients have access to care, build a robust physician workforce, and prepare for the next public health emergency – whether that is a pandemic, a natural disaster, or other public health challenge.”
The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 was introduced in the Senate on Feb. 6, 2019 [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 8, 2019] and in the House on March 14, 2019 [see Washington Highlights, March 15, 2019]. The bipartisan legislation would increase the number of Medicare-supported GME slots by 3,000 per year for five years, for a total of 15,000 new slots.