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Residency training positions

March 22, 2013

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Sens. Bill Nelson, D-FL, Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Harry Reid, D-NV, last week introduced AHA-supported legislation, S. 577, that would add roughly 15,000 Medicare-supported positions to residency training positions. Preference for the additional positions, a 15% increase, would go to programs training physicians for primary care and general surgery. If a hospital closes, the bill would allow its residency positions to be redistributed to nearby hospitals. The bill also would give hospitals more flexibility to train residents in clinical settings outside the hospital, such as community health centers and physician offices. The 1997 “Balanced Budget Act” froze the number of residency positions at the 1996 level. However, several studies have projected a substantial physician shortage in the coming years. The senators sponsored a similar bill in the 112th Congress.