|[July 29, 2014]
Institute of Medicine Releases Important Report on the Future of Graduate Medical Education
WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--
Today the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report, Graduate
Medical Education That Meets the Nation's Health Needs, containing
recommendations to improve the graduate medical education (GME) system.
Specific attention was given to find ways to increase the capacity of
the nation's clinical workforce to ensure the delivery of high quality
health care that will meet the needs of our diverse population. The
Surgical Coalition, representing more than 20 professional societies and
approximately 250,000 surgeons and anesthesiologists in the United
States, appreciates the 2-year long effort to develop the report.
The country faces a severe physician workforce shortage that will only
worsen as health insurance coverage is expanded to millions of Americans
and the baby boomers continue to reach retirement age. Overall, by the
year 2025, the shortage will approximate 130,600 physicians - 64,800
specialists (including surgeons) and 65,800 primary care physicians -
reflecting an equal shortage of specialists and primary care physicians.
This shortage has a number of consequences that jeopardize patient
access to surgical care, including:
Demand for surgical services - vascular surgery,neurosurgery, general
surgery and urology, in particular - is increasing, outpacing demand
for adult primary care services. As a result, patients are
experiencing considerable wait times for surgical care.
The maldistribution rate among surgeons, especially in rural
communities, is significant, and in many parts of the country there
are no general surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons or neurosurgeons.
Twenty-five percent of all Americans do not live within 60 minutes of
a Level I adult trauma center, and even more do not have a Level I or
II children's trauma center within their reach.
Surgeons are getting older, and nearly forty percent of the current
surgical workforce is over the age of 55. Depending on the
subspecialty, it can take up to 13 years - including medical school,
residency and fellowship - to train a surgeon, and once a surgeon is
gone from the workforce he or she is not easily replaced.
The Surgical Coalition is committed to ensuring that patients have
timely access to high-quality surgical care and our members look forward
to helping policymakers craft workable solutions that address the
looming surgical workforce crisis. At a minimum, Congress should bolster
the U.S. surgical workforce by lifting the cap on the number of
federally supported residency training positions and adopting
legislation to increase the number of Medicare-supported residency
Members of the Surgical Coalition include: American
Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy
of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck
Surgery, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American
Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Osteopathic
Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Pediatric Surgical
Association, American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery,
American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Breast
Surgeons, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, American
Society of General Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgeons,
American Urogynecologic Society, American Urological Association,
Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Society for Vascular Surgery, Society
of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, Society of
Gynecologic Oncology, and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
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