Reducing federal support for graduate medical education and medical research funding will threaten the country's healthcare workforce supply, reduce access to emergency care and further weaken the economy, according to a letter from the Association of American Medical Colleges (PDF) to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
AAMC, docs sound off on deficit reduction
"Timely access to physicians is in jeopardy unless Medicare expands GME support, and any cuts will only reduce access to care nationwide, particularly for those that are already underserved," AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch wrote in the letter. "It is our strong view that cuts to healthcare, which jeopardize our ability to provide America with an adequate supply of physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers, as well as limit critical services, are a serious step in the wrong direction."
The AAMC represents 135 medical schools and some 400 teaching hospitals and health systems in which about 106,000 medical residents train.
In a news release, the American College of Cardiology called on the committee to replace the sustainable-growth-rate Medicare payment formula, oppose further cuts in payments for medical imaging services and reform medical malpractice. According to the release, some 350 cardiologists traveled to Washington to deliver that message this week. The Washington-based ACC has 39,000 members.
The Alliance of Specialty Medicine, a coalition of 11 specialty societies, sent its own letter to committee co-chairs on Sept. 8, urging them to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board, work for "fair" Medicare physician payment and reform medical malpractice so that some $54 billion in defensive medicine practices could be eliminated.
In seeking fair Medicare reimbursement, the alliance called on Congress to pass a "permanent fix" to the current SGR payment formula, use quality measures in determining payment and allow patients to use Medicare benefits in private contracts with physicians.
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