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AACOM Joins Six Organizations in Support of Bipartisan Legislation to Expand THCGME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 20, 2019
Logo collage - AAFP, AACOM, AATHC, ACOG, AOA, CAFM and NACHC 

Physicians, Medical Educators, Community Health Centers Strongly Support Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2019

Our organizations applaud U.S. Representatives Raul Ruiz (D-CA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for introducing H.R. 2815, the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2019, and urge the U.S. House of Representatives to quickly pass this important bipartisan legislation. The bill aims to help alleviate the nation’s physician workforce shortage, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas, by providing $757.5 million in mandatory funding over five years for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program. Without congressional action, the THCGME Program will expire by October 1.

The THCGME Program, established in 2010 and reauthorized in 2015 and 2018, has been, by any measure, an overwhelming success. In the current 2018 – 2019 academic year, the program supports the training of 728 residents in 56 primary care residency programs across 23 states. Since 2011, the program has supported the training of over 880 new primary care physicians and dentists that have graduated and entered the workforce. Importantly, physicians trained in teaching health center programs are more likely to practice in underserved communities, increasing access to care for the country’s most vulnerable patient populations.

The value of primary care is well documented. In fact, individuals who have a continuous relationship with a primary care physician are more likely to be healthier and use fewer health care resources. Research shows that our nation faces a primary care physician workforce shortage. The THCGME Program has proven its ability to efficiently increase the number of primary care physicians trained.

This highly successful and impactful program is set to expire by October 1, 2019, unless Congress takes action to reauthorize and fund it. Like a similar bill introduced with bipartisan support by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jon Tester (D-MT), which our organizations also strongly endorsed, H.R. 2815 not only reauthorizes the THCGME Program, but also provides enhanced funding and a pathway for increasing the number of residents trained. Most importantly, the legislation will continue to build the primary care physician pipeline necessary to reduce costs, improve patient care, and support underserved rural and urban communities.

We are extremely pleased that members of both parties recognize the importance of THCGME and have worked together to introduce legislation to extend this vital program that brings health care to medically underserved communities across the nation. Our organizations strongly support the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2019 and call on Congress to ensure that the THCGME Program is reauthorized and appropriately financed by October 1.

We thank Representatives Ruiz and McMorris Rodgers for their commitment to ensuring that our nation has a strong and robust primary care workforce.

Media contacts:

American Academy of Family Physicians: Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252, lchampli@aafp.org
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine: Christine DeCarlo, (202) 603-1026, cdecarlo@aacom.org
American Association of Teaching Health Centers: Cristine Serrano, (202) 780-1021, cserrano@aathc.org
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Kate Connors, (202) 760-1210, kconnors@acog.org
American Osteopathic Association: Jessica Bardoulas, (312) 202-8038, jbardoulas@osteopathic.org
Council of Academic Family Medicine: Hope Wittenberg, (703) 731-8200, hwittenberg@stfm.org
National Association of Community Health Centers: Amy Simmons Farber, (301) 347-0400, asimmons@nachc.org