State of Play:  Staffing and recruitment for hospitals and providers, particularly in the field of primary care medicine, continues to be difficult, and many institutions are taking a new look at U.S. citizen international medical school graduates (USIMGs) to fill much- needed spots. A higher percentage of USMIGs go into the field of primary care and as baby boomers continue to age, fewer physicians are available to attend them—particularly in rural areas.  In addition, some states have begun funding their own residency programs (including FL and GA). 

HLC Position:  HLC believes health system stability includes having a well-trained, highly qualified workforce to meet the needs of our country’s evolving healthcare system, as well as our growing and aging population.  HLC supports increased Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding as well as increasing the number of residency slots available in both primary and specialty care.  HLC also supports the expanded use of telemedicine and immigration rules that allow recruitment of nurses and other workers critical to the healthcare industry.  Nonphysician providers should be allowed to practice to the full scope of their training and should be reimbursed for such services. 

HLC Recent Activity:

  • On December 12, HLC’s executive committee met with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan to discuss workforce recommendations addressed in the administration’s “Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition” report.
  • On October 26, HLC held a briefing on the “State of the Healthcare Workforce,” addressing healthcare employment trends and ways to keep a workforce healthy and engaged.
  • On September 24, HLC wrote the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, in support of its hearing on “Healthcare in Rural America: Examining Experiences and Cost.” The letter urges the Committee’s continued support of workforce programs that train providers to care for rural residents.
  • On July 31, HLC wrote the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, noting the importance of improving workforce care coordination as part of efforts to improve quality and reduce costs in healthcare.
  • On July 17, HLC signed onto a letter to the Senate urging a vote on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) nominees. The letter emphasized the need for EEOC commissioners for issuing guidance on workplace wellness programs following a court’s invalidation of part of 2016 guidance.
  • As part of HLC’s draft high-need playbook, several recommendations focus on workforce needs. These include payment to support better care coordination and an adequate workforce of physicians, community health workers, and other direct health professionals, as well as adoption of the nurse licensure compact in all 50 states.
  • HLC updated and disseminated its “red tape” list of regulatory reforms, including suggestions for relieving burdens on healthcare providers. HLC met with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about this list and also provided the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate HELP Committee, and members of Congress with information on how red tape affects Medicare providers.
  • HLC continues to participate in the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience.  HLC shared information on social media about this initiative that aims to improve understanding of the challenges to clinician well-being, raise the visibility of this problem, and elevate evidence-based and multidisciplinary solutions.
  • HLC continues to discuss workforce shortages during meetings with members of Congress and congressional candidates.  HLC advocates for adequate payments for hospitals, clinics, doctors, laboratories, and other providers to alleviate the shortages.
  • HLC continues to participate in the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) GME Advocacy Coalition.