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News : National Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Jun 12, 2014 - 11:03:00 AM

AMA Outlines Ways to Address Physician Shortages

By Staff Editor
Jun 12, 2014 - 10:59:44 AM

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( - CHICAGO - The American Medical Association (AMA) voted yesterday to support innovative education models to protect access to care and address physician shortages in undersupplied specialties and underserved areas.

The new policy encourages the federal and state government, along with private payers, to adequately fund graduate medical education (GME) and increase the number of residency slots available to graduating medical students. The policy addresses the current and changing needs of the physician workforce and aims to ensure all patients have access to quality care. It also speaks to the growth of team-based care models and encourages the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to develop training methods to foster and reward physicians who are a part of patient-centered care teams.

"The AMA has long-advocated for increasing the number of medical residency slots to train physicians in needed specialties and regions to improve access to health care," said AMA Board Member Stephen Permut, M.D. "As more patients continue to receive health care coverage, it is essential that the next generation of physicians is sufficiently trained. Increasing funding for graduate medical education will help us accomplish that."

Due to the uncertainty of increased federal support for GME funding, and frustration with the lack of influence over specialty choices and the location of physicians practicing within their states, several states have sought to or enacted programs to expand residency positions through alternative GME funding. AMA's new policy recommends supporting state legislation to increase GME funding that will increase the number of physicians trained to meet state and regional workforce needs.

The report also asks the AMA to advocate for innovative pilot programs that will increase the number of GME positions and create quality health outcomes.

In addition to these efforts, the AMA plans to continue its robust efforts to support medical education reform through our Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative that has brought together 11 leading medical schools from across the country to help close the gaps in medical education and ensure physicians are prepared to transition into the new world of 21st century medicine.

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