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AACOM Urges “Super Committee” to Oppose Cuts and Sustain Funding for Graduate Medical Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 29, 2011

Contact:
Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Phone: 301-968-4174
E-mail: wfernando@aacom.org

Photo courtesy of DMUCOM

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) sent a letter today urging members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “Super Committee”) to “explore fiscally responsible ways to sustain funding for graduate medical education (GME) and oppose any cuts to this vital funding.” If Medicare funding for GME is cut during the current efforts to bring the nation’s deficit under control, medical residency programs will be severely challenged in their ability to continue educating their current numbers of residents, much less the additional physicians the nation needs and U.S. medical colleges are working to produce. In the letter to Super Committee members, AACOM President and CEO Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, writes:

  • Medicare funding provides the principal financial resource for the training of medical residents. Reducing this funding in any way will have a detrimental impact on hospitals with teaching programs for physician residents and on those who rely on them for care.
  • Medicare funding in support of GME must be sustained. The nation’s medical residency programs currently receive approximately $9.5 billion annually, which is used to fund an insufficient number of residency slots each year. Cutting funding for GME programs will result in still fewer future physicians being trained, and as a result, fewer patients being treated.
  • The number of osteopathic medical school graduates (many of whom will become primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas) is growing and is expected to continue to rise in response to physician workforce shortages. However, without appropriate GME funding, this growth will be stifled, with serious implications for access to health care.
  • AACOM believes that the GME program should evolve to reflect the future needs of the health care system by prioritizing primary care, training physicians in the non-hospital sites where they will be providing care and embracing innovative training, such as the Teaching Health Center GME Program.

Quote from AACOM President and CEO Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH:

"AACOM urges the Super Committee to seriously consider the importance of physician training, including training of primary care physicians, for patient care and our health care system in order to help meet the nation’s growing health care demands. Furthermore, decreasing funding for osteopathic physician training will jeopardize the nation’s health and will further exacerbate the impending physician workforce shortages."

More Information

August 18 letter to Congress, urging support for sustaining funding for GME

July 8 Statement on Potential Congressional Cuts to Medicare-Funded Graduate Medical Education from AACOM President Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH

Nineteenth Report: Enhancing Flexibility in Graduate Medical Education by the Council on Graduate Medical Education

Contacts for AACOM Policy Position on GME

Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH 
President and CEO 
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine 
(301) 968-4142 
president@aacom.org

Pamela Murphy, MSW 
Director of Government Relations 
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine 
(301) 968-9151 
pmurphy@aacom.org

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