Graduate medical education (GME) is training that medical school graduates must complete in order to become licensed physicians allowed to practice patient care. Depending upon the field of practice (i.e. family medicine, pediatrics, cardiology, etc.), GME can take four to seven years, or more if a physician decides to sub-specialize.
It is during residency training that in-depth knowledge of the area in which they have decided to specialize is developed. Residency programs are a minimum of three years (for internal medicine or pediatrics) and up to seven years (for some surgery subspecialties, such as neurosurgery). Upon completion of residency, students often continue their education through fellowship programs.
The Crisis in GME
The nation will soon face a crisis as the number of residency slots remains capped at 1996 levels, thus preventing the increasing number of medical school graduates from continuing their education and becoming practicing physicians. If the number of slots is not increased, and/or if funding for GME is reduced, then there will be more graduates than residencies and the workforce will simply not grow.
AMSNY supports continued funding for GME, and increased transparency and accountability, over GME practices. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), has estimated there will be a shortage of over 90,000 specialists and primary care physicians by the year 2020. In order to address this problem, medical schools across the nation are increasing their class sizes. However, without adequate opportunities for GME, there will be a major bottleneck issue that will forestall any chances of alleviating the physician workforce shortages. Through its vast system of academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, New York trains more than one in every seven medical residents in the United States and annually produces thousands of fully trained physicians for the entire nation. These institutions rely on adequate Medicare GME support to continue to train these large groups of physicians. For additional information on GME, click here.
The Federal Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) provides an ongoing assessment of physician workforce trends, training issues and financing policies, and recommends appropriate federal and private sector efforts on these issues. COGME advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. For more information on the Federal COGME, click here.
NYS has created a State COGME to advise the Governor and the State Department of Health. For more information the State COGME, click here.