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What’s New in the World of GME?

Some of you may have already seen the following developments related to Graduate Medical Education (GME), but we wanted to pass them on in the event you missed them.

COGME releases New GME Report

In August, the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) issued its 21st Report, entitled “Improving Value in Graduate Medical Education.” Authorized by Congress in 1986, COGME is tasked with providing an ongoing assessment of physician workforce trends, training issues, and financing policies and to recommend appropriate Federal and private-sector efforts to address identified needs. Consistent with neurosurgery’s general views, COGME is calling for increased funding for 3,000 new residency positions per year, continued support for Children’s Hospital GME, and support for an all payer GME fund. On the downside, however, it calls for directing most of the new funding to primary care (although priority specialties do include pediatric subspecialties). Additionally, the report is deficient in tackling the overall shortage of physicians, and merely expanding funding for 3,000 new slots will not make a real dent in addressing the 130,600 shortfall predicted by 2025. Furthermore, COGME completely fails to recognize the need for a well-trained surgical workforce, which is certainly shortsighted.

GAO Releases GME Review

On Aug. 15, 2013, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a review entitled: “Health Care Workforce: Federally Funded Training Programs in Fiscal Year 2012.” This report, which was requested by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), catalogues all the federally funded training programs for healthcare providers for FY 2012.

NPR News Tackles Workforce Shortage Issues and GME Funding Caps

On Sept. 24, 2013, NPR News wrote an article entitled, “Health Care Changes Spur Need For More Medical Specialists” which talks about the physician shortage and the need for additional physicians across all specialties. It also brings to bear the need to reform the GME system to eliminate the current GME funding caps.

Organized neurosurgery continues to advocate to the powers that be having well-educated and trained physicians–both in specialty and primary care–is an essential element to ensure access to quality healthcare services for all Americans.

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