With the creation of the Medicare program in 1965, a funding stream was established to support the training of medical residents in support of Medicare beneficiary care. Today, Medicare remains the single largest payer of graduate medical education (GME), with expenditures totaling about $9.5 billion annually.
Despite the importance of GME funding in helping to avert a physician shortage, budgetary concerns have led some in Congress to propose major reductions in GME expenditures. Critics question the overall value of the program, and concerns have been raised regarding a lack of accountability for educational funds provided exclusively to hospitals.
The AAFP recognizes the financial pressures facing the federal government and concurs that the GME program must be modernized to keep pace with an ongoing shift in care delivery away from hospitals. Nonetheless, the AAFP has repeatedly urged Congress to prevent cuts to this essential program.
On September 15, AAFP hosted a briefing to unveil a new policy in regard to GME. The AAFP believes that the current and projected shortage of primary care physicians should be a national priority. The current GME system, through its financing and hospital-based structure, may actually work against achieving a physician workforce that meets the health care needs of current and future generations. The documents below outline significant changes in the financing of GME to align taxpayer dollars with the training of primary care physicians.
Full Report: Aligning Resources, Increasing Accountability, and Delivering a Primary Care Physician Workforce for America(7 page PDF)
One pager: Aligning Resources(2 page PDF)
One-pager: Increasing Accountability(1 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to Energy & Commerce on Funding for Teaching Health Centers - February 19, 2015(2 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to HELP Committee on Funding for Teaching Health Centers - February 19, 2015(2 page PDF)
Joint Letter to Ways & Means on Teaching Health Centers - January 30, 2015(2 page PDF)
AAFP Letter to Ways and Means Committee on GME Reform - January 19, 2015(6 page PDF)
Joint THC Stakeholder Letter to Energy & Commerce - January 16, 2015(2 page PDF)
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