Representatives Gottheimer, Pascrell, Lance, Norcross, MacArthur, and Watson Coleman introduced bipartisan legislation that will help address New Jersey’s physician shortage and meet its healthcare needs by making New Jersey hospitals more competitive. Due to an unfair calculation, some New Jersey medical programs for doctors in training lack the adequate slots to train as many physicians as possible here.
This bill modifies an out-of-date cap on graduate medical education slots that has prevented some New Jersey hospitals from being able to take on new doctors-in-training. New Jersey Senators Booker and Menendez recently introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“New Jersey’s robust and innovative health care industry is critical to our economy and to keeping our residents and communities safe. We’re the proud home to world-class research institutions, amazing education facilities, and life-saving hospitals and clinics. However, we’re in the midst of a physician shortage that threatens to undermine our quality of care and economic competitiveness,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “This critical bipartisan legislation will help correct arbitrary and outdated regulations in order to attract more graduate medical students to our state, which will help keep our communities safe and healthy and grow our economy.”
“It is high time that the federal government stop standing in the way of New Jersey’s ability to train the next generation of our healthcare workforce. The caps on graduate medical education teaching slots were arbitrarily put in place decades ago and are hindering our ability to adequately meet our current and impending healthcare needs,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-8). “New Jersey’s healthcare institutions are among the best in the world and we should be helping them use their full capacity to address the immense healthcare workforce shortage facing our nation. I am proud to support the Advancing Medical Resident Training in Community Hospitals Act to accomplish this important goal.”
“There is a reason why New Jersey is known as the ‘medicine chest of the world’ – we have the best life science facilities dedicated to patient care and medical innovation. We need the top medical students to come to New Jersey and call it home. We need their genius and passion and we need to fix the training slot miscalculation to make it happen,” said Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-7).
“South Jersey is fast becoming a hub for world-class medical institutions that want to hire the best, and this legislation will help our ‘Eds and Meds’ corridor continue to thrive,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-1). “Working together, we’re making sure New Jersey attracts and trains more graduate medical students, who will help keep our families healthy and boost our state’s economy for years to come.”
“We must ensure our state’s hospitals and clinics continue to expand and provide new generations of doctors the opportunity to succeed,” said Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-3). “This bill protects our state’s health care industry from the imminent threat of a physician shortage by ending outdated, bureaucratic regulations that hinder medical students from continuing their training in residency positions. I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan effort and I thank my New Jersey colleagues for joining me to ensure New Jerseyans have quality care for years to come.”
“Our state is responsible for some of the most advanced medical innovations in the country, made possible by an incredible network of research institutions, hospitals and clinics. While we’re leading the curve in new treatments and approaches to care, we’re falling behind in the number of doctors practicing here, putting the health of our residents and the quality of care they receive at risk. This bill will give us a stronger physician pipeline by making a simple, bipartisan fix to a misjudgment that has kept New Jersey hospitals from training more physicians,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).
New Jersey currently suffers from a shortage of physicians, with some estimates calling for an additional 2,500 to 2,800 physicians by 2020 to meet New Jersey’s healthcare needs. According to data from the Association of American Colleges (AAMC), New Jersey has among the highest rates of practicing physicians over the age of 60, and is 46th in the nation in the percentage of physicians aged 40 or younger. Moreover, New Jersey ranks 37th nationally in medical students as a share of the total population, with 24.4 medical students per 100,000 population, making it difficult to recruit residents when compared with neighboring New York and Pennsylvania.
In 1997, Congress passed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which capped the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical residency slots at 1996 levels. At that time, some hospitals in New Jersey had graduate residents on rotation at other hospitals, resulting in their cap being set at an artificially low level. For hospitals looking to expand the number of available graduate education slots, a single budgetary report from 1996 could preclude them from obtaining desperately needed training slots.
This bill corrects the arbitrary and outdated cap and makes graduate medical education slots available to hospitals that have been locked out for decades, allowing them to invest in teaching programs that will keep New Jersey’s health workforce competitive.