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New Federal Bill Seeks to Increase Residency Slots and Address Physician Shortages

The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2017 (H.R. 2267) — a bill introduced in the U.S. House on May 1, 2017 — aims to address the projected physician shortage in both primary and specialty care. The legislation was introduced by Rep. James Crowley (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA 6th).

As introduced, the legislation will help address the shortage of resident physician training opportunities by providing funding for an additional 15,000 Medicare-supported graduate education positions over five years. The number of Medicare-funded resident and fellow slots has not been increased since 1997.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has gone on the record in favor of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act. James Madara, MD, CEO/EVP of the AMA, sent a letter to Rep. Costello, offering the AMA’s support on behalf of its physician and medical student members.

“Workforce experts predict that the U.S. will face a significant physician shortage for both primary care and specialty physicians over the next 10 years if training positions are not expanded,” wrote Dr. Madara. “Yet, while new medical schools are opening and existing medical schools are increasing their enrollments to meet the need for more physicians, federal support for residency positions is still subject to this outdated cap.”

The Pennsylvania Medical Society continues to be a proponent of increasing the number of residency slots in the commonwealth in order to ensure that the state’s health care needs are adequately addressed.

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