AAFP Supports Bill to Reauthorize Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program

Friday, Aug. 4, 2017

Statement attributable to:
John Meigs, Jr., MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians welcomes the introduction of the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2017 in the Senate. This bill complements its House counterpart and we applaud Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jon Tester (D-MT) for introducing this bipartisan legislation.

“Without Congressional action, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program will expire on September 30, 2017. The AAFP supports the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2017 because it will reauthorize a highly successful program for training physicians in community-based settings. It also will provide for expanding teaching health center residency programs into new medically underserved and rural communities.

“Data have shown that teaching health centers can help address two of the most pressing problems in today’s health care system: the shortage and maldistribution of primary care physicians. As community-based programs located in rural or urban underserved areas, teaching health centers encourage medical students to enter primary care. They prepare residents for serving patients where they live.

"Studies have shown that more than nine out of 10 teaching health center graduates plan to work in primary care. These physicians are more likely to practice within 100 miles of their residency programs. Equally important, more than three out of four of these graduates plan to work in underserved communities.

“The vast majority of patients receive their health care from physician offices in their communities. Teaching health centers currently are the most effective vehicle for training primary care physicians to provide that care. The Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act of 2017 will ensure the continuation of this cost-effective, highly successful residency training program and, as a result, access to high-quality primary medical care for millions of Americans."

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Meigs, contact Leslie Champlin, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252, or lchampl@aafp.org.









Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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