A bill that seeks to stave off projected physician shortages by adding another 15,000 Medicare-supported residency training slots has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Legislation aims to boost residency training slots
The new slots would represent a 15% increase in the number of residency positions which have been frozen at 1996 levels since the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. It would also allow for unused positions to be redirected to other institutions.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which supports the legislation, the bill would aim to increase the number of residency positions for primary care, general surgery and positions in non-hospital settings such as physician offices, community health centers, and other ambulatory care sites.
A similar measure was introduced in the House by Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.). The American Osteopathic Association also released a statement supporting of the measure.
While increasing the overall supply of physicians is important, we believe it is imperative that we facilitate a rapid growth in the number of physicians in these underrepresented specialties, said AOA President Carlo DiMarco in a written statement.
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