Philadelphia is the second largest city of teaching hospitals in America. One out of every six doctors in the U.S. has had medical training in Philadelphia. Because of the role these teaching hospitals play in the region, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz has stood up for these institutions to ensure they have the resources they need to educate the next generation of doctors.
Schwartz founded and co-chairs the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus, which works with teaching hospitals across the country to confront the challenges facing academic medicine and the health care system as a whole. To continue the important dialogue about the role of teaching hospitals, Schwartz hosted a briefing this week with leading experts representing America's premier medical schools and academic medical centers. Approximately 40 people attended the briefing, including Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and medical education experts from around the country.
Among the six experts were two leading academic physicians from Pennsylvania--Jeffrey R. Jaeger, M.D., Director of Ambulatory Resident Education at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Richard C. Wender, M.D., Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson Medical College.
"Teaching hospitals not only provide high-quality care in our communities, but also train top-tier physicians, conduct groundbreaking medical research, and provide jobs that fuel our economy," Schwartz said. "America is on the cusp of a crisis in access to both specialty and primary care physicians due to a mounting physician shortage. Engaging those on the frontlines of academic medicine and patient care is critical to ensuring a robust physician workforce."
"It is clear that over the coming years, the health care needs of our nation will grow and evolve, and our physician workforce will have to grow and evolve with them to keep pace," Jaeger said. "Graduate medical education has a central role in determining the composition of this workforce and the skills that doctors bring to the workplace. Those of us who teach physicians are eager to work with the Caucus as we develop the curricula and tools to train doctors to best serve the nation's needs."
Our nation's graduate medical education system trains the world's most prominent physicians who serve patients in practice settings ranging from renowned teaching hospitals, to community hospitals, to small primary care practices across the country. In addition to their essential role in training physicians, teaching hospitals are uniquely qualified to provide high-quality patient care to our sickest populations and serve as the epicenter of medical research in this country.
Teaching hospitals rely on graduate medical education funding to support the training of our nation's primary and specialty physicians. As policy makers have sought to reduce the federal deficit, some in Washington have proposed cutting Medicare graduate medical education funding as part of a larger deficit reduction package. Any cuts to this funding will result in fewer doctors being trained, acceleration and worsening of physician shortages, and less access to critical services for our rapidly growing population of seniors.
Schwartz has led the effort to protect this critical funding for our nation's teaching hospitals, including spearheading a bipartisan letter in 2011 with 113 co-signers urging House and Senate leadership to recognize the critical role our nation's teaching hospitals play in the delivery of quality health care and educating the next generation of doctors.
Through her work with the Academic Medicine Caucus and Philadelphia's teaching hospitals, Schwartz is leading the way in Congressional efforts to ensure a robust physician workforce capable of meeting the health needs of our growing and aging population.
The following leaders in academic medicine attended the roundtable discussion on July 18, 2012:
Jeffrey R. Jaeger, M.D. -- President, Mid-Atlantic Region, Society of General Internal Medicine Associate, Professor of Clinical Medicine Director of Ambulatory Resident Education, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Richard C. Wender, M.D. -- Chair, Department of Family & Community Medicine Thomas Jefferson University/Jefferson Medical College
Andrew D. Racine, M.D., Ph.D. -- Chief, Division of General Pediatrics Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Albert Einstein College of Medicine Children's Hospital at Montefiore
Atul Grover, M.D. -- Chief Advocacy Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges
Philip Bagnell, M.D. -- Dean of the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University
David Linville, M.D. -- Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education and Associate Professor of Medical Education, Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University