Rosen Announces Co-Sponsorship of Bipartisan Bill to Address Doctor Shortage after Requesting Government Report on Solutions to Increase Access to Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, announced her co-sponsorship of the bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2019 (S. 348), which would reduce the shortage of physicians in Nevada and the rest of the United States by increasing the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) residency slots.

“The mass shortage of physicians in Nevada and across this country could have a detrimental effect on access to health care professionals, especially for families in rural and underserved parts of Nevada,” said Senator Rosen. “This bill will increase the number of slots available for medical residencies at hospitals and help to build a larger, capable workforce of medical professionals to overcome this shortage, with a preference for states like ours with new medical schools. I’ll continue working to support commonsense solutions that improve our health care system, including increasing access to primary and specialty care for Nevadans.”

BACKGROUND: The bipartisan Resident Physician Shortage Act (S.348) would add an additional 15,000 physician residency slots over the course of five years through the graduate medical education program under Medicare.  New medical schools would be given priority access to new slots.  

In April, Rosen joined the UNLV School of Medicine Founding Dean, Barbara Atkinson, M.D, for a tour of the University of Las Vegas School of Medicine to discuss her work to address health disparities in Nevada. Rosen also 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.

Earlier this year, Rosen 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. Rosen also introduced the Building Blocks of STEM Act (H.R.3397) in order to provide better access to science education for students, so as to enable students opportunities to pursue careers in science and health care.