Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter Oct. 17 to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar seeking information on Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs. The letter asks the Secretary provide information on how GME dollars are spent, as well as what oversight the agency performs to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.
The letter cites reports from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the National Academy of Medicine, and the Inspector General, stating that more oversight of the GME program is needed, and proposes several questions. Many questions focus on the total number of residents supported by the GME program through Medicare, Children’s Hospital GME, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, and by either the hospital of private insurance.
Other questions include how HHS conducts oversight of the program, including how frequently HHS consults with other agencies and ensures consistency in GME programs, how it ensures duplicate payments are not made, how it verifies the number of residents in participating programs, and questions related to resident salaries.
Finally, the letter also includes questions about the geographic distribution of GME slots, including inquiries about assisting specific shortage regions or specialties.
The Chairman requested a response from HHS by Oct. 31.