October 02, 2014
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AMA adopts policy to close gaps in medical education, address physician shortages

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The American Medical Association has adopted a policy to address physician shortages and promote new models of medical education, according to a press release.

The policy urges state and federal governments, as well as private payers, to increase funding to graduate medical education (GME) and expand the number of residency opportunities available to new medical school graduates. In the policy, the AMA discusses the present and evolving needs of working physicians and seeks to ensure quality medical care for all patients, particularly within undersupplied medical specialties.

The policy also addresses the increased focus on team-based care models, and calls upon the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education and the American Osteopathic Association to establish training methods that promote and incentivize the development of patient-centered, physician-led 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,” AMA board member Stephen Permut, MD, said in the release. “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.”

As a result of the unreliability of increased federal GME funding, several states have sought to expand state-level residency positions through alternative funding. The new AMA policy calls for support of state legislation that would increase GME funding; and, therefore, increase the number of qualified physicians required to meet medical workforce needs.

Under the policy, the AMA will also endorse pilot programs designed to increase the number of GME positions and decrease physician shortages.

The AMA will also continue its ongoing work toward medical education reform through its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. This program has enlisted leading medical schools nationwide to help improve in medical education and allow for successful transitions into the workforce for medical school graduates.