(Washington, DC) – Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D., (R-South Louisiana) and Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) introduced the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act to expand the number of physician residency slots available across the U.S. while giving priority for additional residency slots to teaching hospitals located in Health Professional Shortage Areas.
As the United States’ population has grown and aged, the need for new physicians has increased. Many states, including Louisiana, are already experiencing doctor shortages, which are even more pronounced in rural areas. According to an Association of American Medical College (AAMC) study published in March 2015, by 2025 the U.S. physician shortage will reach between 46,000-90,000 physicians.
The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 instituted Medicare Resident Caps, limitations on residency slots for teaching hospitals able to receive Medicare reimbursement. These caps have not been adjusted in a meaningful way since the law’s enactment nearly 20 years ago. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act increases the number of residency slots nationally by 3,000 each year for five years, creating a total of 15,000 new residency slots.
In Louisiana, there are 22 teaching hospitals that will benefit from an increased number of available physician residency slots. A list of these hospitals is attached. In the Third Congressional District, these hospitals are:
- Lafayette General Medical Center
- Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
- Regional Medical Center of Acadiana
- University Hospital and Clinics
Boustany said: “As a physician, the ability to apply my knowledge from medical school in a practical setting was invaluable. Limitations on the amount of available slots for resident physicians are restricting the number of doctors we’re training and introducing into the workforce. This is a problem we need to address today. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act relieves pressure on training hospitals by creating more residency slots for new physicians. I look forward to pushing for passage of this common-sense solution.”