CHICAGO — Continuing its efforts to ensure patients have access to an adequate physician workforce, the AMA today adopted policy aimed at making sure there is sufficient funding for medical residency positions. Currently, hospitals that begin sponsoring residency training and become eligible for graduate medical education (GME) funding under Medicare have a maximum of five years to establish all residency programs before the institution’s Medicare GME funding cap is set. Based on the new policy, the AMA will advocate to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to modify its current Medicare GME requirements to allow institutions ample time to create new residency programs to care for patients in underserved and economically depressed areas.

“The AMA remains committed to expanding GME funding to ensure we train enough physicians to meet the nation’s changing health care needs,” said AMA Board Member and resident Omar Z. Maniya, M.D. “The current five-year deadline for developing new residency programs in underserved areas before a cap is placed on the amount of Medicare funding they can receive for these programs is not effective. We will urge CMS to give institutions the time they need to identify qualified, willing teaching partners to create residency programs that are able to meet the needs of patients in underserved areas.”

The AMA has been a long-time advocate for modernizing GME. This includes increased funding for medical residency slots, and development of innovative practice models as well as residency positions that reflect societal needs. Most recently, the AMA urged support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2017, a federal bill that would expand Medicare funding for 15,000 additional residency positions.

The AMA also supports the maintenance and expansion of GME as part of its SaveGME campaign. This initiative urges Congress to protect federal funding for graduate medical education, which supports access to care in undersupplied specialties and underserved areas. The campaign also aims to educate patients about the importance of GME and the role of residents in the delivery of our nation's health care.

Launched in 2013, the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative also addresses some of these issues by supporting medical school projects aimed at accelerating student progression through medical school allowing them to enter residency sooner and contribute more rapidly to expanding the physician workforce.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.