Thursday, November 17, 2011

Answer the call to save graduate medical education...again!

Once again, Congress is considering steep cuts to graduate medical education (GME) programs in the interest of balancing the budget.  This is a classic short term answer: cutting funding to graduate medical education will reduce the number of physicians being trained in the US at a crucial time when we will need more physicians to provide care to our nations' citizens.

I have written about this issue before, and unfortunately find the need to do so again.

Cutting GME programs now might make the short-term budget outlook seem a bit more favorable...but at tremendous downstream costs.  This recent study shows the potential harm: "A 50 percent funding cut would result in the elimination of 3,037 core medical specialty positions." 

This is no time to cut GME funding...especially in the name of a convenient political goal.

Please, take action.  There are twooptions listed below--choose the one that is most comfortable for you, and help save graduate medical education.


1. Call the AMA advocacy hotline. 1-800-833-6354 (note you don't need to be an AMA member nor a health professional to use it - anybody can call this!)
2. Provide your zip code.
3. Connect directly (if calling AMA hotline) or write down the names and numbers of your representatives the hotline provides.
4. When connected, read the following:
"As a (future/current/supporter of) health care professional(s) from your Congressional District (for Representatives)/state (for Senators), I strongly urge you and your colleagues to preserve Medicare funding for Graduate Medical Education (GME) and adamantly oppose any GME cuts that might be included in a deficit reduction package. GME payments help support a portion of the costs associated with training physicians under close supervision once they co mplete medical school. They also help the nation’s teaching hospitals cover a portion of the unique costs of caring for highly complex, seriously ill, and critically injured patients who require a level of clinical expertise and technology usually unavailable elsewhere in the community.

It is imperative that Congress preserve Medicare support for residency training programs (GME) so that the next generation physicians can fulfill their aspirations of keeping America healthy. In fact, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has, since June 2010, urged Congress to preserve—and not cut—GME support.

We appreciate the seriousness of our nation's deficit and the work underway by the "Super Committee." However, as our nation faces a physician shortage, along with a record number of new Medicare beneficiaries, it is unwise to reduce support for programs that produce the doctors our seniors will need.

Please urge your colleagues , the Congressional Leadership, the Obama Administration, and the Super Committee to oppose Medicare GME reductions as part of deficit reduction."

5. Tell your friends to do the same.


2. Click on "Take Action"
3. Use a personal email address (not your school/business email) to fill out the form and send your messages.
4. Tell your friends to do the same.

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