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Gottheimer, Pascrell, Menendez, Booker Combat Doctor Shortage

Teaneck, July 15, 2019

U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) and Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today announced legislation to fight New Jersey’s impending doctor shortage by increasing graduate medical education slots for community hospitals. The “Supporting Graduate Medical Education at Community Hospitals Act of 2019” corrects an arbitrary cap on hospital graduate medical education slots. Because of this outdated calculation, some New Jersey medical programs lack the adequate slots to train as many physicians as possible, causing qualified individuals to pursue employment opportunities out of state. The newly-introduced bill will give qualifying hospitals the opportunity to finally adjust their residency caps to better reflect their workforce needs. Reps. Pascrell and Gottheimer and Sen. Menendez made today’s announcement at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.

“The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates a shortfall of up to 120,000 physicians nationwide by the year 2030. Next year, we are expected to need up to 2,800 new physicians in New Jersey,” said Rep. Pascrell, New Jersey’s only member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “A healthy nation builds its medical fleet, and right now we can do better here in New Jersey. If we want to keep growing as a state and a nation we need to bolster our medical pipeline by expanding physician training programs. Our legislation will reverse outdated policies hindering this expansion and allow community institutions to support more graduate medical students. Instituting this change will create new jobs, it will encourage doctors to come to and stay here in the Garden State, and most of all it can help ensure improved health for our children and their children.”

“New Jersey’s robust and innovative health care industry is critical to our economy and to keeping our residents and communities safe. We’re the proud home to world-class research institutions, amazing education facilities, and life-saving hospitals and clinics. However, we’re in the midst of a physician shortage that threatens to undermine our quality of care and economic competitiveness,” said Rep. Gottheimer. “This critical legislation will help correct arbitrary and outdated regulations in order to attract more graduate medical students to our state, which will help keep our communities safe and healthy and help grow our economy.”

“Medicine is a truly noble profession, and it all starts with education and training. Hospital residencies are a formative time in the career of every doctor in America. It’s a time to take the lessons they’ve learned in the classroom and apply them to patient care. And for many doctors it’s also a time to lay down roots and decide where they want to build their careers, their families and their lives,” said Sen. Menendez. “We want America’s best and brightest medical school graduates to lay down those roots in New Jersey. That’s why we need the Supporting Graduate Medical Education at Community Hospitals Act.”

“This legislation will break down a bureaucratic barrier and allow New Jersey to attract more talented medical professionals to our state,” said Sen. Booker. “It’s important that we create a pipeline of qualified doctors who can meet the demand for high quality care for all New Jerseyans. Ensuring that physicians begin their careers in the Garden State means they will not only keep our communities healthy, but will contribute to our growing economy.”

"We are grateful to Senator Menendez, Congressman Gottheimer and Congressman Pascrell for introducing a bill that addresses the critical physician shortage happening in New Jersey," said Michael Maron, president and CEO of Holy Name Medical Center. "The shortage is due in part to increased patient demand and a retiring physician workforce, but also because of a law that passed in the late 90s that either locked hospitals out of residency training slots or capped their training slots at a lower number. In New Jersey alone, we’ll need upwards of 2800 new doctors by next year to meet the state’s increasing demands and unfortunately there’s this bottleneck now because of the outdated law. The new bill will make it easier for hospitals to expand physician training programs in the state and ultimately support our mission to care for New Jersey families." 

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