NJ Spotlight: Menendez, Booker, Pascrell, Gottheimer Announce Legislation to Fight New Jersey’s Doctor Shortage

Today, Monday, July 15, 2019, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (NJ), U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ), U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), and U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced legislation to fight New Jersey’s doctor shortage by increasing graduate medical education slots for hospitals.

This bill corrects an arbitrary and outdated cap on hospital graduate medical education slots. Because of this outdated calculation, some New Jersey medical programs lack the adequate slots to train as many physicians as possible here. We keep losing highly-trained medical students to other states.

This bill will provide qualifying hospitals with the opportunity to finally adjust their residency caps to better reflect their workforce needs.

In particular, for the past 23 years, Holy Name Medical Center has been capped at 6 slots because of this arbitrary formula.

Menendez, Pascrell, and Gottheimer made today’s announcement at Holy Name Medical Center, alongside Holy Name President and CEO Michael Maron, Holy Name Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Jarrett, MD, Holy Name Physician Dr. John Poole, MD, and Mount Sinai Chief Medical Officer and Vice President Dr. Ben Kornitzer, MD.

The bill is being introduced today in the House by Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer and in the Senate by Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.

“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 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 Senator Bob Menendez (NJ). “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,” Senator Cory Booker (NJ) said. “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.”

“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 Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-9). “A healthy nation builds its medical fleet, and right now we’re not doing that 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 people to stay in New Jersey, and most of all it will ensure the health of our children and their children.”

“New Jersey’s robust and innovative health care industry is critical to our economy and to keep 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 Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “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.”

“We are grateful to Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, 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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