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Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Combat Physician Shortage

Pennsylvania lawmaker among lead sponsors for bill to expand medical residency slots

March 30, 2023

Federal lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would significantly expand the number of Medicare-supported residency positions and improve access to care.

The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2023, introduced Wednesday by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Terri Sewell (D-AL), would add 14,000 Medicare-supported physician residency positions during the next seven years.

Without action, the nation’s physician shortage could grow up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, the Association of American Medical Colleges notes.

“In the face of a severe physician shortage, it is more important than ever to have highly-trained doctors in our hospitals,” Representative Fitzpatrick, lead Republican sponsor, said in a statement.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • About:  The legislation adds 14,000 Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) and indirect medical education positions over seven years
  • Focus areas:  CMS would distribute at least 10 percent of the slots to hospitals in each of the following categories:
    • In rural or non-contiguous areas
    • Training over their GME cap
    • In states with new medical schools or new branch campuses
    • Serve areas designated as health professional shortage areas (prioritizing historically Black medical schools)
  • Diversity study:  As part of the legislation, the comptroller general would conduct a study about increasing health professional workforce diversity
  • Next steps:  Senators are expected to introduce a similar version of the legislation shortly
  • Quotable:  “The bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Act will create more opportunities for aspiring doctors to join residency programs and help meet the growing demand for high-quality health care,” Fitzpatrick said

HAP thanks Representatives Fitzpatrick and Sewell for introducing this important legislation and encourages federal lawmakers to support this critical effort to support our health care workforce. Learn more about HAP’s workforce priorities.

For additional information, contact John Myers, HAP’s vice president, federal advocacy.