American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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IOM Releases Much Anticipated GME Report

On July 29, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its long awaited report on the future of graduate medical education (GME) funding.

While most specialty societies were anticipating a primary care bias in the report, the end result included no mention of the need for increased funding or increased residency slots at all and instead focused on if Medicare and the federal government are the appropriate funders of GME and how to 'modernize' GME payments.

The report calls on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to each create a new office to monitor GME and also recommends directing GME funding away from teaching hospitals and more towards training in community-based settings. Researchers for the report are skeptical of the projected physician shortage numbers, typically ranging between 90,000-130,000 physicians over the next decade and evenly split between primary care and specialists, because previous estimates of shortages were wrong.

The American Association of Medical Colleges released a statement stating that the proposals could decrease teaching hospital funding by up to 35% and the American Medical Association expressed concern that there was no mention of increasing residency slots, especially with the rapidly growing number of Medicare beneficiaries.

ASPS signed on to efforts with the Surgical Coalition and Alliance of Specialty Medicine expressing concerns with the findings in the report.