WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Mar 14, 2013) - The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) announces its support of the Training Tomorrow's Doctors Today Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-PA) to address the nation's physician workforce shortage and expand medical residency training positions in programs across the country.
"In the U.S. we are facing a significant physician shortage that will only increase in severity unless action is taken soon. Every eight seconds another Baby Boomer turns 65 so it's incumbent upon us to ensure we have a prepared physician workforce in place to meet the growing health care demands on our country," said Representative Schock. "The primary way our country can address the physician shortage is by ensuring we increase the number of Graduate Medical Education slots. By doing so, we are increasing the number of medical school graduates who will receive hands on training in a patient setting to gain the experience needed to become a practicing physician."
The Training Tomorrow's Doctors Today Act would increase the number of Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) positions by 3,000 each year, totaling 15,000 additional positions over the next five years. The legislation would give priority to hospitals in states with new medical schools and emphasize training in community-based settings. It would also require hospitals to train at least 30 percent of their residents in primary care and general surgery and require greater accountability and transparency by meeting specific performance measures.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which currently is still in effect, capped the number of Medicare-funded residency positions. As osteopathic medical schools continue to graduate rising numbers of students, it is imperative to ensure that the number of medical residency positions increases simultaneously to continue training the nation's future physicians.
"The physician workforce shortage facing our nation, particularly in primary care, is a national crisis that requires comprehensive and cost-effective solutions," said AACOM President and CEO Stephen C. Shannon, D.O., M.P.H. "AACOM is pleased to offer its strong support of this critical legislation, which works to increase the training of the future physician workforce across the country while expanding access to patient care. AACOM commends Representatives Schock and Schwartz for their unwavering leadership on this issue."
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.