LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), visited Cano Health Center in Las Vegas to discuss her work to address the doctor shortage in Nevada.
“Nevada’s shortage of medical providers has left many communities in our state without proper access to care,” said Senator Rosen. “Today, I met with members of Cano Health to discuss solutions that would expand access to care for Nevadans, including the work I’m doing in Congress to increase the number of physicians in our state. I will continue my efforts to see that all of Nevada’s communities have access to the care they deserve.”
BACKGROUND: Senator Rosen is a co-sponsor of the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act. This legislation would lift the current caps on Medicare GME payments to rural hospitals. This would help eliminate the disadvantage that rural hospitals face when recruiting new medical professionals. The bill also would allow Medicare to reimburse urban hospitals that send residents to train at rural health care facilities during a resident rotation, and it would establish a per-resident payment initiative to ensure rural hospitals have the resources to bring on additional residents.
Senator Rosen is also a co-sponsor of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act which would increase GME slots by 2,000 per year. Current law provides for an increase of up to 200 positions per fiscal year beginning in FY2023, with a total increase of 1,000 positions (up to 25 per hospital). This bill provides for an additional increase of 2,000 positions per fiscal year from FY2023-FY2029; during this period, each hospital may receive up to 75 additional positions in total under the bill and current law.
In 2019, Senator Rosen sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a report on graduate medical education (GME) residency programs and physician shortages. GAO completed the report this summer. Some of the report’s key findings include:
- 70% of hospitals train more residents than Medicare funds, indicating a training capacity greater than current caps.
- 20% of hospitals train below at least one of their caps, and 11% were under both.
- This equates to 2% of Medicare-eligible cap slots going unfilled, which is 1400-1500 slots (depending on Direct or Indirect GME funding).
- Hospitals under their caps are generally smaller and in rural areas.
- Hospitals may reallocate slots to other hospitals, and GAO found that around 40 percent of hospitals have used this option.