AACOM Urges Super Committee to Fund GME
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) sent a letter today (Sept.30) 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.”
The letter went on to say that 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 not only continue educatingcurrent residents, but the growning number of new medical school graduates as well. 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.