Physician Shortage Brief

Addressing Physician Shortages and Supporting Medical Graduates
Manu Mathew (Class of 2024)

As a dedicated champion for additional funding for residency opportunities, I am inviting outstanding alumni, like you, to join me in addressing the pressing issue of physician shortages across the country. Despite sustained agitation, entrenched political differences in Washington, D.C., have hindered progress, maintaining a government ceiling on residency employment since 1997. However, there are numerous opportunities at the state level to enact meaningful solutions. Together, we can use our collective voices to collaborate with state politicians, promoting fair healthcare access for all communities.

I strongly encourage your support for recent legislative initiatives aimed at both enhancing healthcare accessibility and bolstering support for medical graduates (Thom & Mathew, 2023). The Graduate Physician Licensing Act, NJ SB 1832, expands healthcare access by enabling graduate physicians to provide primary care under supervision, addressing underserved areas with specific prescribing authority, and monitoring for quality care. Maryland’s Bridge to Medical Residency Act, MD HB 757, authorizes supervised medical graduates to perform delegated duties, providing a temporary solution to physician shortages while ensuring compliance. West Virginia’s Unmatched Medical Graduate Advisory Council, WB SB 714 and WB SB 723 ¬†seeks solutions for unmatched graduates and medical workforce shortages through collaboration and practical recommendations . Oklahoma’s provisionally licensed physician regulations, OK SB 1613, mandate oversight and collaboration to ensure accountable medical practice. HI SB 61, establishes licensure requirements for associate physicians, emphasizing collaboration and specific qualifications to improve healthcare access. Minnesota, MN SF 3611, proposes amendments for foreign medical school graduates, introducing limited licenses and collaborative agreements to address physician shortages, especially in underserved regions, with an emphasis on utilizing experienced professionals effectively. NY SB 7002, expands existing permit holders to work in school, prison, FQHC, private offices etc, ID HB 418 amends existing bridge physician law to assistant physician, where limited license is renewable every 3 years.

Recent reports underscore the pressing severity of physician shortages, particularly accentuated in states such as New Jersey (Matthew, 2024). Within this context, proposals for provisional licensing for assistant physicians have emerged as a viable solution to alleviate the shortfall. These reports illuminate the critical need to swiftly address the deficit of healthcare providers, which is acutely felt in underserved and rural communities where access to medical care is severely limited. In New Jersey, the shortage of generalist physicians has reached alarming levels, as evidenced by data from the Annual Report of the State Board of Medical Examiners, the “Physician Retention in State of Residency Training” report, and the New Jersey Rural Health Focus Group Report. These sources highlight not only the scarcity of healthcare professionals but also the significant disparities in access to primary care services, further emphasizing the urgency for proactive measures to ensure comprehensive healthcare access for all residents.

Your assistance is critical in lobbying for these bills and initiatives. Your voice can make a difference, whether you testify in person or remotely, write support comments, or contact local lawmakers to co-sponsor legislation. My testimony in Maryland underscores the urgency of addressing the challenges faced by unmatched medical graduates, advocating for avenues to support their contribution to healthcare also advocate for the inclusion of mid-level providers without residency requirements to support unmatched medical school graduates. By uniting together as AUA alumni, we can make an immediate impact in solving physician shortages and supporting medical graduates. Let us work together to guarantee that all communities have access to high-quality healthcare. Stay tuned for details on new states and ways to help this critical cause.

Thank you for your dedication and support.

                                                                  References

Mathew, M (2023) Addressing the physician shortage in New Jersey: A Comparative Analysis of assistant physicians and provisional licensing requirements

https://csorwvu.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Addressing-the-Physician-Shortage-in-New-Jersey-Sept26.pdf

Thom, N., & Mathew, P. G. (2023). Addressing the physician shortage: Postgraduate licensure (PGL) for unmatched medical school graduates. Practical Neurology. https://practicalneurology.com/articles/2023-sept-oct/addressing-the-physician-shortage-postgraduate-licensure-pgl-for-unmatched-medical-school-graduates