Legislation introduced to reauthorize program that helps fund primary care residency programs

Residency Program Insider, August 18, 2017

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To address the shortage of physicians in rural settings, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bill to reauthorize the popular Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, which allocates funds for primary care residents in community-based settings.

The THCGME program is set to expire next month and the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act would renew it for an additional three years. The legislation would also allow the program to expand to new residency programs within existing teaching health centers and allow for the creation of new community health centers. A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bills have gained support from various associations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). In a statement, AAFP President John Meigs, Jr., MD, said, “Data have shown that teaching health centers can help address two of the most pressing problems in today’s healthcare system: the shortage and maldistribution of primary care physicians. As community-based programs located in rural or urban underserved areas, teaching health centers encourage medical students to enter primary care. They prepare residents for serving patients where they live.”

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