Today the newspaper Roll Call published an Op-Ed that I wrote on graduate medical education (GME). As you know, GME has been discussed as a potential site of spending cuts as our leaders in Washington conduct debate around the debt ceiling and national deficit. I felt it was important to inform those discussions with information on how potential cuts to GME might threaten the public interest.
Here is an excerpt from my Op-Ed (subscribers to Roll Call can read the full piece here):
Cutting what Medicare spends to fund graduate medical education training may be an easy target. But it is shortsighted and not in the best interest of the American public. At a time when we need to address a serious shortage of physicians, policymakers should seize this opportunity to invest GME dollars more wisely, not scale them back to meet budgetary goals…The U.S. system for educating physicians is the envy of the world. But it has to change if we are to have a more robust, reliable and effective health care system.
Rather than reducing the dollars we now spend, let’s work together to make sure we spend what we have to make the system for training the next generation of physicians more accountable and responsive to the public.
The importance of reforming GME is clearer than ever as we face a large shortage of physicians. In my Op-Ed I referred to a document released by the Macy Foundation with the Association of Academic Health Centers that outlines key reforms—including our recommendation to create 3,000 entry-level GME positions in adult primary care, general surgery and psychiatry. You can read more about the recommendations from this report by downloading and reading it here.
As we watch to see what path our leaders decide to chart on the budget, it is important that we focus on reforming GME so that it is more efficient and accountable.