FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2011 Contact:
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Statement on the
Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2011
Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH
President and CEO
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recently introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2011, a bill which would increase the number of Medicare graduate medical education (GME) residency slots by 3,000 each year, totaling approximately 15,000 additional slots over the next five years. The bill stipulates that at least 1,500 of the new slots each year must be used for a shortage specialty residency program. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) strongly supports this legislation; given current and projected physician workforce shortages, such legislation is desperately needed to ensure that Medicare-funded GME programs can train a sufficient number of physicians.
A variety of factors are driving the need for greater numbers of physicians to serve the nation’s public — current and projected physician workforce shortages; 32 million newly insured individuals resulting directly from the Affordable Care Act; an aging population and a subsequent rise in the incidence of chronic disease; and new models of health care aimed at providing more accessible, more affordable care to more Americans. To meet these challenges, the U.S. needs more physicians to be trained, not fewer.
In the face of potential cuts to Medicare GME funding during Congress’ ongoing debt negotiations, AACOM commends Senator Nelson and the co-sponsors of this legislation. As the medical education community works hard to increase opportunities for aspiring physicians in order to help meet the nation’s growing health care demands, AACOM strongly supports passage of the Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2011. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which currently is still in effect, capped the number of Medicare residency slots.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (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.