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  • Press Release

    AAMC Statement on Senate Finance Committee’s "Enhancing the Mental Health Workforce" Discussion Draft

    Press Contacts

    John Buarotti, Sr. Public Relations Specialist

    AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Acting Chief Public Policy Officer Tannaz Rasouli, MPH, issued the following statement about the Senate Finance Committee’s “Enhancing the Mental Health Workforce” discussion draft to address mental and behavioral health needs:

    “The AAMC commends Senate Finance Committee Chair Wyden (D-Ore.), Ranking Member Crapo (R-Idaho), Senators Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Daines (R-Mont.), and the committee for their bipartisan work to propose solutions to the country’s growing mental and behavioral health crisis and to promote the well-being of patients, families, and communities.

    We support the discussion draft released today for helping to improve patient access to much-needed mental and behavioral health providers by investing in new Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) positions. We applaud the working group for taking this step to address this critical need for patients.

    The AAMC’s most recent analysis estimates that the U.S. could see a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, and the Health Resources and Services Administration estimates 7,632 mental health providers are necessary to eliminate current mental health professional shortage areas. In addition to the deficit of psychiatrists, shortages of other physicians and health professionals pose challenges for patients seeking mental and behavioral health services. These shortages are the reason we strongly support legislation such as the Opioid Workforce Act (S. 1438), the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Act (H.R. 3441), and the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 834/H.R. 2256), which would provide support to help expand accredited residency programs in needed areas.

    We also greatly appreciate the inclusion of other innovative policies that would help expand access to behavioral health services for Medicaid beneficiaries and address the regulatory barriers that prevent some physicians and other staff from accessing wellness programs and resources offered by hospitals.

    We commend the working group for taking a bipartisan approach to improve access to mental and behavioral health care for all people, and as the process progresses, we look forward to continuing to work with the Committee to build a robust health care workforce."

    The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) is a nonprofit association dedicated to improving the health of people everywhere through medical education, health care, medical research, and community collaborations. Its members are all 158 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education; 13 accredited Canadian medical schools; approximately 400 academic health systems and teaching hospitals, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 70 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC leads and serves America’s medical schools, academic health systems and teaching hospitals, and the millions of individuals across academic medicine, including more than 193,000 full-time faculty members, 96,000 medical students, 153,000 resident physicians, and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Following a 2022 merger, the Alliance of Academic Health Centers and the Alliance of Academic Health Centers International broadened participation in the AAMC by U.S. and international academic health centers.