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CMS: Graduate Medical Training Programs Need Reforms

January 23,2020

Washington In response to an inquiry from Senate Finance
Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services has highlighted that reforms to federal graduate medical
education (GME) program funding streams could improve stewardship of taxpayer
dollars as well as address long-term health care professional shortages.

Verma’s response provides some important foundation to what clearly needs to be
legislative reforms. The fact that rural areas, like my home state of Iowa, are
facing doctor and specialist shortages can and should be a challenge addressed
through all federal GME payment programs. We can’t just keep dumping federal
funds into programs that may not be addressing the needs of our rural
communities,” Grassley said. “I plan to explore options that protect
taxpayer dollars and target medical resident training to best serve patients.”

an October 2019 letter
, raised a series of questions about whether
Medicare’s GME program, which doles out close to $15 billion annually to
incentivize the training of new physicians, is effectively and efficiently
achieving its goals. Citing reports from both governmental entities and outside
analysts, Grassley’s letter raised concerns that the program as currently
implemented could lead to wasteful and duplicative payments to hospitals and
questioned whether the program is addressing doctor shortages in specific
geographic regions and medical specialties.
a response
last week, CMS Administrator Seema Verma provided payment data relating to the
GME program, outlined steps taken by CMS to ensure the integrity of the GME
program and highlighted reforms proposed in the President’s FY2020 budget that
the Administration believes could ameliorate the doctor shortage concerns. Ultimately, Verma noted that any
significant changes to the program would require legislative action in


text of Grassely’s October inquiry can be found HERE.
Full text of Verma’s response can be found HERE.



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