Rosen-Backed Effort to Address Nevada Doctor Shortage Included in Recently Passed Government Spending Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), released the following statement highlighting her efforts to address Nevada’s doctor shortage by increasing the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) residency slots, and the successful addition of GME 1,000 residency positions included as part of the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Nevada currently ranks 48th in the nation in terms of primary care physicians per capita, with all 17 counties in the state designated as health shortage areas.

“The mass shortage of physicians in our state puts the health and well-being of Nevadans at risk,” said Senator Rosen. “Now, more than ever, it is critical that we provide proper access to medical professionals in every corner of our state. I’m glad to see that the recently passed government funding package takes much-needed steps to increase the number of medical residency slots in our state, building on my efforts to help establish a larger workforce of medical professionals. I will continue working to support our state’s medical community and to protect the health and well-being of Nevadans.”

BACKGROUND: The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 adds 1,000 new Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) full-time equivalent (FTE) residency positions, beginning in fiscal year 2023 and phased in over five years, which will be available to the following groups: 1) rural hospitals and hospitals treated as rural hospitals; 2) hospitals over their otherwise applicable resident limit; 3) hospitals in states with certain new medical schools and medical schools with additional locations and branch campuses; and 4) hospitals that serve Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

Last year, Senator Rosen co-sponsored 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.

Also last year, Senator Rosen sent a letter to United States 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 also requested that GAO outline solutions for addressing the physician shortage to increase access to health care services.