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AAMC Praises Bill to Create Primary Care Mentorship, Scholarship Programs

June 14, 2013—AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., sent a June 12 letter  praising Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) for introducing a bill that would authorize a series of programs to strengthen the health care workforce.

The Building a Health Care Workforce for the Future Act (S. 1152) includes a number of provisions designed to address the top factors that graduating medical students consistently cite as affecting their specialty choice: the content of a specialty; lifestyle factors associated with a specialty; and the influence of a role model in a specialty.

The bill would establish under Title VII a program to increase longitudinal mentorship opportunities for entering medical students who express an interest in primary care, as well as a program to identify effective role models in primary care through a nationwide network of primary care mentors and resources.

The legislation also would authorize grants to health professions programs to promote educational innovations in priority areas, such as team-based care or the patient-centered medical home, and commission a study by the Institute of Medicine to examine less burdensome alternatives to documentation requirements under Medicare for evaluation and management services.

Additionally, S. 1152 would create a scholarship program to complement the National Health Service Corps. The bill would offer federal matching funds to states that invest in health professional scholarship programs in which scholarship recipients must complete a service requirement in designated shortage areas. The bill would require that at least half of funding for the program support scholarships for providers pursuing primary care careers, but also would allow states the flexibility to use the other half of funding to address provider shortages in other specialties.

In introducing the bill, the senators cite the AAMC’s workforce projections anticipating a shortage of 91,000 physicians by 2020. “Our nation faces a longstanding shortage of health care providers,” said Senator Reed. “The Reed-Blunt plan would give our medical workforce a booster shot and ultimately expand and improve access to health care.”

Senator Blunt concurred, saying, “As our nation faces many health care challenges, including workforce shortages, it’s critical that we encourage medical students to pursue careers in primary and specialty care in underserved communities. This bill will help to build a stronger health care workforce while increasing access to quality health care for those who need it most.”

In his letter, Dr. Kirch described the success of the nation’s longstanding commitment to Title VII programs in addressing such challenges as they emerge, as well as the importance of expanding federal support for residency training. He noted that S. 1152 “in concert with legislation to increase the residency cap and a robust investment in Title VII, will help prepare the workforce to respond to the increased demand for health care services.”


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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