Rosen Tours UNLV School of Medicine, Requests GAO Report on Solutions to Address Physician Shortages and Increase Access to Care

LAS VEGAS, NV — Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, joined the UNLV School of Medicine Founding Dean, Barbara Atkinson, M.D, for a tour of the University of Las Vegas School of Medicine. Rosen recently sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro requesting a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the effectiveness of the current structure of federally-funded Graduate Medical Education slots in meeting the needs of patients. Rosen requested that GAO also outline solutions for addressing the physician shortage to increase access to health care services. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, nationwide 14,900 primary care providers are currently needed to fill this gap. Nevada ranks 48th in the nation in terms of primary care physicians per capita.

“Due to the low doctor to patient ratio, all 17 counties in Nevada are designated health shortage areas,” said Senator Rosen. “The mass shortage of physicians is causing longer wait times and less access to both primary and specialty care for Nevadans. I applaud the UNLV School of Medicine’s efforts in helping to address this urgent and important issue. I will continue to work in Congress on forward-thinking solutions to ensure Nevadans are able to get access to the care that they need.”

“Senator Rosen has shown a deep commitment to protecting the health of Nevadans,” said Barbara Atkinson, Founding Dean of the UNLV School of Medicine. “We’re thankful for her support in our mission to educate Nevada’s future doctors and medical professionals.”

BACKGROUND: Last Congress, then-Congresswoman Rosen supported the Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2017 (H.R. 2267), which would work to reduce the shortage of physicians in the United States by increasing the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) residency slots at U.S. hospitals, as well as Medicare-supported hospital residency positions. Earlier this year she helped introduce the bipartisan Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize the “Conrad 30” program that allows special visas for immigrant doctors to work in medically underserved areas.

This year, Senator Rosen introduced the Building Blocks of STEM Act (S.737) to provide better access to STEM education to provide students greater opportunities to pursue careers in science and health.