Addiction Policy News

ASAM Joins Over 75 Organizations in Sending Letter Calling For An Increase in Medicare Support for Graduate Medical Education

May 6, 2019

Rockville, MD - On May 3, ASAM joined over 75 organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, in sending a letter urging members of Congress to cosponsor The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (S.348, H.R. 1763), which would increase the number of residency positions funded by Medicare in hospitals around the country by 15,000 over 5 years. This legislation would work to expand the physician workforce to address alarming projected deficits of physicians in both primary and specialty care. 


"As you may know, the demand for physicians continues to grow faster than supply, leading to a projected shortfall of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030 with predicted shortages in both primary and specialty care," wrote the signatory organizations. "Physicians are a critical element of our health care infrastructure and workforce, and if we do not address this impending problem, patients from pediatrics to geriatrics, will find it difficult to access the care they need."


The physician shortage is particularly acute in the field of addiction medicine, where despite the growing need, there are currently too few clinicians with the requisite knowledge and training to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease of addiction. According to the latest estimates, nearly 21 million Americans needed treatment for SUD in 2017, but only 4 million received any form of treatment. Furthermore, addiction training is still too rare in American medical education. Since addiction medicine was only formally recognized as a medical subspecialty in 2016, the field is still catching up with other specialties in terms of available teaching and training opportunities. More investment is needed to close the existing treatment gap.


To view the letter, CLICK HERE


To view the bill, CLICK HERE