Recommended GME Overhaul Will Support a Physician Workforce to Meet Nation’s Evolving Health Needs

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Statement attributable to:
Reid Blackwelder, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The AAFP commends the Institute of Medicine for the important work it has done to evaluate and recommend changes to overhaul the nation’s 50-year old graduate medical education system. We are pleased that the IOM’s report reiterates the commitment of the country to GME as a public good.

“Although the AAFP has advocated for quicker change on a larger scale, the report is consistent with our policies on transparency and accountability to align our investment in GME with the health care needs of our population. We are most pleased to see recommendations in the GME payment structure that will decouple payments from Medicare patient case loads and shift funding away from the legacy hospital-based system to more community-based training sites; including allowing funding to go directly to those organizations that sponsor residency training. By giving these organizations more control over how they train residents, the financial investment will better align with the health needs of a community.

“As family physicians, we practice on the front lines of health care and see most of our patients outside of a hospital in an ambulatory office-based setting. Ensuring that more training takes place in these environments is key to preparing our future physician workforce.

“As noted in the report, it has never been more critical for the nation’s GME system to produce a physician workforce that meets the evolving health needs of the population. The public has provided tens of billions of dollars to fund residency training since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. The recommended overhaul will not only allow for greater transparency to that funding process, but will create accountability for providing the needed physician workforce. Most importantly, it allows for our nation’s financial investment in physician training to align with the physician workforce needs of our population. The AAFP applauds the IOM committee for recommending changes that are long overdue and move us in the right direction for the nation’s health.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Blackwelder, contact Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5223, or

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

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