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SHM Joins Multi-stakeholder Letter Supporting the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act

March 24, 2021

SHM's Policy Efforts

SHM supports legislation that affects hospital medicine and general healthcare, advocating for hospitalists and the patients they serve.

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On behalf of the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Advocacy Coalition, the undersigned organizations offer our enthusiastic support for the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (S. 834). This bipartisan legislation is crucial to expanding the physician workforce and to ensuring that patients across the country are able to access quality care from providers.

The need for physicians continues to grow faster than supply, leading to an estimated shortfall of between 54,100 and 139,000 primary care and specialty physicians by 2033. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the significant barriers to care that patients face, and has also highlighted rising concerns of clinician burnout. This is particularly alarming given that more than two of five currently active physicians will be 65 or older within the next decade, raising concerns about the impact of physician retirement. Additionally, the U.S. population is continuing to both grow and age, and access issues persist in rural and underserved areas. The physician workforce is a critical element of our nation's health care infrastructure, and if we do not address this impending problem, patients from pediatrics to geriatrics and nearly everyone in-between, will find it even more difficult to access the care they need.

America's medical schools, teaching hospitals, and their physician partners are doing their part by investing in physician and health care provider training and leading innovations in new care delivery models that are more efficient and include better use of technologies - like telehealth - that improve patient access to care. Even with these efforts, however, shortages and access challenges will persist unless we expand the physician workforce.

We are grateful that bipartisan congressional leaders worked together to provide 1,000 new Medicare-supported GME positions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 - the first increase of its kind in nearly 25 years. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021 would build on this historic investment by gradually raising the number of Medicare-supported GME positions by 2,000 per year for seven years, for a total of 14,000 new slots. A share of these positions would be targeted to hospitals with diverse needs including hospitals in rural areas, hospitals serving patients from health professional shortage areas (HPSAs), hospitals in states with new medical schools or branch campuses, and hospitals already training over their caps.

We look forward to working together to support the training of future physicians and to secure the passage of this important legislation.  

Association of American Medical Colleges
Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health
Academy for Professionalism in Health Care
Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM)
Alliance of Specialty Medicine
America's Essential Hospitals
American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American College of Academic Addiction Medicine (ACAAM)
American College of Mohs Surgery
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Physicians
American College of Radiology
American College of Rheumatology
American College of Surgeons
American Gastroenterological Association
American Geriatrics Society
American Headache Society
American Medical Association
American Medical Student Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Society for Clinical Pathology
American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
American Society of Addiction Medicine
American Society of Anesthesiologists
American Society of Echocardiography
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Urological Association
Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
Association of Academic Physiatrists
Association of Minority Health Professions
Association of Pathology Chairs
Association of Professors of Dermatology
Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO)
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Children's Hospital Association
Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations
College of American Pathologists
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
Federation of American Hospitals
Greater New York Hospital Association
Healthcare Association of New York State
Heart Failure Society of America
Illinois Health and Hospital Association
Medical Group Management Association
National Association of Spine Specialists
Premier Healthcare Alliance
Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Society for Vascular Surgery
Society of Academic Associations of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
Society of Directors of Research in Medical Education
Society of General Internal Medicine
Society of Hospital Medicine
Society of University Surgeons
Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
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