Noteworthy News

Not Enough Residency Slots to Go Around

While medical schools are rising to the challenge of an anticipated future physician shortage by turning out more graduates than ever, the nation’s system of medical residencies is not keeping pace, leaving some medical school graduates with nowhere to train for future medical practice.

Medicare, the primary underwriter of graduate medical education, has not increased its support since Congress capped such spending in 1997.  The number of states supporting graduate medical education through their Medicaid programs is on a slow decline, and more are considering eliminating future support.  Some states have increased their funding, others are pursuing private sector support, and both MedPAC and the Institute of Medicine are looking for possible solutions to the challenge of how to finance training for future physicians.

Stock PhotoMany urban safety-net hospitals also are teaching hospitals and have a considerable stake in both the funding of medical residencies and the future supply of physicians.

For a closer look at the extent of the problem, some possible solutions, and the challenges potential solutions face, see the MedPage Today report “Residency Slots:  A Crisis in the Making.”

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