Today, Representatives Michael G. Grimm (R,C-S.I./Brooklyn), Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx), and Eliot Engel (D-Bronx/Rockland/Westchester) have introduced the Improving Physician Access in Teaching Hospitals (PATH) Act to prevent a looming doctor shortage. This bipartisan bill phases in much-needed residency slots to participating teaching hospitals, as well as gives tax incentives to practicing physicians who provide opportunities for resident rotations in their practices.
"As more baby boomers age into Medicare, the growing physician shortage will limit access to care for New York's seniors," said Rep. Grimm. "Our bipartisan legislation reverses this trend, not only by increasing the number of slots in teaching hospitals for aspiring physicians, but by creating incentives for practicing physicians to take residents under their wings. America has the world's best and brightest physicians, and we should expand that tradition for our seniors, and for all Americans, who deserve accessible, high-quality healthcare."
"With a physician shortage on our nation's doorstep, it is critical that we take steps now to grow this essential workforce. Physician shortages put the health of New Yorkers at risk by limiting access to fundamental health care basics and preventative care measures like regular check-ups and vaccinations," said Rep. Crowley. "That is why I have worked tirelessly to address the issue of the looming physician shortage in this country and am pleased to work with my New York colleagues, Reps. Grimm and Engel, on this latest effort. New York is home to some of the finest teaching hospitals in the world, and we must do all we can to ensure our great state and our country continue to produce the finest doctors to meet our nation's needs."
"With the aging baby boomer population, our nation is facing a critical shortage of physicians. As a senior member of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I am proud to join with my colleagues Reps. Grimm and Crowley in introducing legislation to expand Medicare-supported residency slots to teaching hospitals with an emphasis on primary care," said Rep. Engel. "This legislation will go a long way to invest critical resources in the physician workforce and preserve access to care for New Yorkers and patients across the country."
New York trains one out of every seven physicians nationwide and its hospitals are among the largest employers throughout the state, supporting 686,610 jobs statewide. Its hospitals generate $107.9 billion for state and local economies each year - 9.4% of gross state product. The Improving PATH Act will help keep New York's hospitals on safe financial ground while training physicians, and preserve and protect a high quality workforce to serve patients in New York and throughout the country.
The Improving PATH Act phases in 1,000 additional residency slots each year over three years. This "phase in" method will help address our nation's physician shortage in a difficult fiscal climate. The bill also provides a small business tax credit for physician practices that allow residents to rotate-in their practices. The tax credit is a gesture to physicians, recognizing they are making a contribution to their profession, preventing a workforce shortage, and functioning as a small business in a difficult economic environment.
Overall, twenty-two states have reported physician workforce shortages and without additional measures, the U.S. will be faced with a physician shortage of 90,000 physicians by the end of the decade. With the Medicare population growing and more people seeking care, the demand for services will increase. The Improving PATH Act addresses the problem to prevent a doctor to patient ratio that will only grow worse without action.