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Transforming the physician workforce through competitive graduate education funding
Date:11/11/2013

unding mechanism is the "inflexible GME pipeline" that is anchored to the number of residents funded at the time of the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Some expansion has occurred but mainly in subspecialties, ignoring the need for additional primary care physicians.

To improve the physician workforce, the authors recommend a new system of funding that is responsive to workforce needs, rewards innovation, and uses explicit outcome objectives to evaluate training programs. The funding would be publicly guided and awarded through competitive funding, similar to the process of awarding National Institute of Health peer-reviewed research grants.

"For the physician workforce to change and improve, there must be a trusted public entity that regularly sets overall goals for training direction and pipeline size," the authors said. The entity should be a federal advisory committee composed of the public, public health experts, health care systems, payers and medical educators.

These goals would guide the development of annual requests for funding proposals. Residency programs would be required to apply and compete for GME funding once every 10 years. This means that each year 10 percent of the nation's training programs would be reviewed. New programs would compete for funding. Existing programs that score poorly would receive reduced funding, while meritorious programs could grow. Awards would be for 10 years to enable teaching organization stability.

Applications would be reviewed through study sections. Programs would also need to report performance measures that include educational capacity, processes and outcomes. These measures would be available to the public including fourth year medical students who are choosing residency programs.

Funding would no longer be linked to residents' time caring for Medicare beneficiaries in acute care settings. "Indirect GME funding would no longer reward the very inefficiencie
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Contact: Annmarie Christensen
annmarie.christensen@dartmouth.edu
603-653-0897
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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