SaveGME.org is a concerted effort to strongly urge Congress to protect federal funding for graduate medical education (GME). While we recognize and support the need to reduce our nation’s growing budget deficit to a fiscally sound level, we believe that cutting federal funding for GME is not the appropriate policy to attain our nation’s long-term health care goals. Workforce experts predict that the United States will face a shortage of 62,900 physicians in 2015 that will increase to 130,000 across all specialties by 2025. Cuts to physician training programs will only exacerbate the physician shortages at a time when millions of newly insured Americans will be seeking medical care services beginning in 2014.
Residents are medical doctors who have completed medical school and have earned the title of physician. Residents hold limited licenses to practice medicine, and must undergo a specialty-specific, hands-on, supervised, clinical training called Graduate Medical Education (GME) in order to practice independently and become board-certified. Residents provide much of the day-to-day, around-the-clock care in teaching hospitals and for underserved patients all across our country. This clinical training is arduous and lasts between 3-9 years, depending on specialty, after the 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school.
This year, 528 medical school graduates did not match in a residency program, which is more than double the number from 2012. With a larger number of medical school graduates seeking residency slots combined with the growing national physician shortage, adequate funding for GME must be a priority for Congress and the future of medicine.
Congress should retain Medicare support and federal funding for GME to protect access to care and address physician shortages in undersupplied specialties and underserved areas.