AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, issued the following statement about the Senate introduction of the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 (S.2892), which would support new residency positions to improve patient access to care and address the opioid epidemic:
“As communities across the country continue to deal with the devastating effects of substance use disorders and chronic pain, we enthusiastically thank Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) for introducing the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019. This targeted and necessary approach to addressing the opioid epidemic will help patients access the care they need by increasing the number of physicians specifically trained to care for patients with substance use disorders.
In 2018, only 11% of individuals with a substance use disorder received treatment and 50 million Americans battled chronic pain. This bipartisan legislation would expand access to care for these individuals by adding 1,000 new Medicare-supported graduate medical education positions over the next five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.
The nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals are actively responding to the opioid epidemic, including preparing the next generation of health care professionals, conducting research into novel and non-addictive pain treatments, and developing new methods of care for individuals with substance use disorders. The addition of these targeted residency positions would strengthen our health care infrastructure by increasing the number of doctors serving on the front lines of the nation’s opioid epidemic.
We are grateful that the House Ways and Means Committee has already acted on the Opioid Workforce Act, and look forward to working with Sens. Hassan and Collins, as well as members in both chambers of Congress, to pass this bipartisan legislation to address the opioid crisis.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members comprise all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their 173,000 faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC and its member medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org.