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Association Urges Policymakers and Leaders to Undertake GME Reform.

Effective Restructuring Includes Advancing a National Health Workforce Policy

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association of Academic Health Centers(AAHC) urges policymakers to advance discussion of proposed graduate medical education (GME) reforms within the context of a comprehensive, integrated, and strategic national health workforce policy.

"It is essential that graduate medical education reforms be considered as part of a national health workforce policy, not in isolation," said AAHC President and CEO Dr. Steven A. Wartman. Congress has failed to fund the National Health Care Workforce Commission created by the ACA, significantly undermining the likelihood that GME reforms can be addressed appropriately to meet the nation's healthcare needs. Wartman added, "It is critically important to fund the Commission and advance a constructive response to graduate medical education reforms that can meet the nation's healthcare needs."

In an August 18, 2014 letter to Dr. Victor Dzau, president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Wartman summarized AAHC's policy position on GME reforms in the course of commenting on the recent IOM Report, Graduate Medical Education That Meets the Nation's Health Needs. He asserted that "reaching consensus on the number of physicians, nurses, and other health providers that need to be trained to meet future healthcare needs is highly dependent on addressing obstacles to maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the health workforce we currently have." These pressing concerns, as presented in AAHC's health workforce report, include:

* dealing with licensure, accreditation, and scope-of-practice requirements that prevent health professionals from practicing to the full extent of their training and in an efficient fashion as part of healthcare teams;

* retraining current health professionals to assume new roles and responsibilities in a rapidly changing healthcare system; and

* creating mechanisms to reallocate health professionals and specialties from areas of surplus to areas of need.

"A system redesign is necessary, but must be transitioned both carefully and incrementally, given the historical dependence of institutions on these monies," observed Wartman. A full consideration of the financial burdens imposed by changes to payment for graduate medical education is critical to avoid unintended consequences for these important institutions and the patients they serve. Wartman called on policymakers to pursue a carefully thought-out transition plan to mitigate the inevitable dislocations that will occur when scarce resources are rationalized and reallocated.

The AAHC is a non-profit association dedicated to advancing health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers

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Date:Sep 9, 2014
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