Chairman Crowley, Congressman Costello Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Looming Doctor Shortage

May 2, 2017
Press Release

(Queens, NY) – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Congressman Ryan Costello (R-Penn.) announced today the reintroduction of legislation to expand the current cap on the number of Medicare-supported training slots for doctors, helping to ensure teaching hospitals can meet the growing demands for physicians as our nation faces a looming doctor shortage.

The U.S. is expected to face a shortage of up to 104,900 physicians by 2030, including shortages in both primary and specialty care, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Medical school enrollment is growing, yet the number of residency positions is still subject to an outdated cap, meaning that these medical school graduates will have no place to finish their required training.

“Raising the resident cap is a critical first step in addressing this nationwide crisis. Medical schools have responded by expanding enrollment numbers, but it’s time for Congress to act so these new medical students can complete their training,” said Chairman Crowley. “Additionally, teaching hospitals have taken on a great deal of responsibility but they need the support of Congress and adequate federal funding to continue. A doctor shortage is something we just can’t ignore. This is a nationwide problem and the path to ensuring all Americans have access to high-quality, well-trained physicians is through the strengthening of GME programs.”

“A strong physician workforce is vital to ensuring all Americans have timely access to essential and quality healthcare.  This legislation would allow Congress to address concerns about physician shortages by providing teaching hospitals with the necessary resources to support increased residency openings,” said Rep. Costello. “By demonstrating a bipartisan commitment to developing a new generation of skilled physicians, we can expand the availability of health care.”

The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act was first introduced in 2009 and again in subsequent Congresses. The legislation would increase the number of Medicare-supported hospital residency positions by 15,000 (3,000 slots per year, over five years), bringing the total number of slots available to 105,000 and opening up significant new opportunities for future doctors and for the teaching hospitals that train them.

“This much-needed bill underscores not only the critical importance of teaching hospitals and their mission to train medical residents, but also the crucial need to address the nation’s looming physician shortage,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “New York’s entire teaching hospital community thanks Congressman Crowley for his leadership on this vital issue.”

Bea Grause, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State(HANYS), commended Congressman Crowley for his leadership in pressing Congress to protect and strengthen Graduate Medical Education, "This bipartisan legislation is critical to supporting our world-class teaching hospitals and academic medical centers whose core mission is excellence in patient care while training tomorrow’s physicians. More residency slots are needed nationwide to support the increased need for physician services."

The legislation is supported by the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Osteopathic Association, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, America's Essential Hospitals, Federation of American Hospitals, andother leading national and state organizations.