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The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine President Stresses Impact of Sequestration on Medical Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4, 2013

Contact:
Lindsey Jurd
Editor and Communications Associate
301-968-4152
ljurd@aacom.org

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) President and CEO, Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, today issued the following statement on the implementation of the across-the-board sequestration cuts, which will ultimately result in reduced patient access to care and increased health care costs for vulnerable populations.

Sequestration has indiscriminately cut funding for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs with an 8.2 percent across-the-board cut to funding levels and threatens graduate medical education (GME) through an automatic 2 percent cut under Medicare. According to the Coalition for Health Funding, of which AACOM is a member, public health, health research, and other NDD programs have been reduced $900 billion from the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution, the bipartisan Budget Control Act, and the bipartisan American Taxpayer Relief Act. Yet these programs are not responsible for our growing debt.

In fact, even completely eliminating all NDD programs would still not balance the budget.

The nation faces a projected shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2020. Even a short period of indiscriminate cuts is enormously disruptive to programs that are vital to our ability to continue training the future of our nation’s physician workforce. The osteopathic medical education community understands the dire economic situation our nation faces and the need to make hard choices to return our country to sound fiscal footing. While these important economic concerns must be addressed, it is critical that the process be judicious and that cost-effective programs be preserved. The cuts mandated by sequestration will be especially harmful to our country’s osteopathic medical schools and the future physicians they train.

Exploring every available alternative to sequestration must continue to be an option. The consequences of these cuts are far too grave not to do so.

See AACOM’s recent letter urging Congress to oppose sequestration and explore all viable alternatives.


About AACOM

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) represents the nation’s 29 colleges of osteopathic medicine at 37 locations in 28 states. Today, more than 21,000 students are enrolled in osteopathic medical schools. One in five U.S. medical students is training to become an osteopathic physician.

AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation's osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.