CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy at its Annual Meeting today to build upon its efforts aimed at modernizing and increasing funding for graduate medical education (GME). The new policy calls for the AMA to continue advocating for legislation that removes the caps on Medicare-funded residency positions, which were imposed by the Balanced Budget Amendment of 1997, to help ensure an adequate physician workforce to meet the nation’s growing needs for health care services.

The new policy also calls on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate with the federal agencies that fund GME training to identify and collect information needed to effectively evaluate how hospitals, health systems, and health centers with residency programs are using these financial resources. This includes gathering information and reporting back on payment amounts by the type of training programs supported, resident training costs and revenue generation, output or outcomes related to health workforce planning, and measures related to resident competency and educational quality offered by GME training programs

“The AMA is reinforcing its commitment to advocate for expanded GME funding to ensure we train enough physicians to meet the nation’s changing health care needs,” said AMA Board Member Ryan J. Ribeira, M.D., M.P.H. “There is currently a lack of sufficient data available to identify gaps between federal GME programs and the needs of the nation’s physician workforce—particularly distribution of physicians geographically and across specialties. We urge HHS to gather comprehensive data that will help them accurately determine whether the federal investment in GME training meets current workforce needs, and properly make recommendations to Congress and the Administration on improving the efficient and effective use of federal funds to meet those needs.”

The AMA has been a long-time advocate for modernizing GME. This includes increasing funding for medical residency slots, developing innovative practice models, and creating residency positions that reflect patient and societal needs. Most recently, the AMA urged support for two federal bills. These include the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019, which would expand Medicare funding for 15,000 additional residency positions, and the Advancing Medical Resident Training in Community Hospitals Act of 2019, which would close a loophole in GME cap-setting criteria affecting hospitals that host small numbers of residents for temporary training assignments.

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.

Announced earlier this month, the new AMA Reimagining Residency initiative aims to significantly improve residency training. The AMA is providing $15 million over 5 years to fund eight innovation projects aimed at promoting systemic change in residency training. The projects are being led by organizations with oversight of GME. These organizations will work together to evaluate successes and lessons learned, and promote wide dissemination and adoption of successful innovations. The new initiative builds on the work of the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative launched in 2013 to create the medical schools of the future. The goal of the effort is to address the growing gap between how physicians are being trained and the skills they’ll need to practice in modern health systems.

The AMA will continue its efforts to drive the future of medicine by reimagining medical education, training and lifelong learning—ensuring physicians are better equipped to provide care in the rapidly evolving health care environment.

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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.