Defining teaching hospitals' GME strategy in response to new financial and market challenges

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Abstract

The authors present an overview of current graduate medical education (GME) issues, particularly the financial challenges to teaching hospitals resulting from the Balanced Budget and Tax Payer Relief Acts of 1997 and other recent market-driven factors. They describe in detail the nature of Medicare GME payments before and after the 1997 legislation, with specific examples, and explain the negative financial impact of the legislation and aspects of the legislation that are designed to alleviate that impact. Other factors influencing GME program size and composition are also discussed, including oversupplies or shortages of physicians, the concern that teaching hospitals are using public funds to train international medical graduates, changing training requirements, etc. The authors also describe a recent consulting assignment during which they assisted a major teaching hospital to develop a GME strategy that was responsive to the organization's mission and patients and that took into account future GME financing challenges. Detailed explanations are given of how the consultants analyzed the hospital's GME programs and finances, developed and ranked key institution-specific program criteria (strategic, organizational and operational, and financial), and, in consultation with all key stakeholders, formulated a GME strategy specific to the institution's needs. The authors conclude by cautioning that each institution's GME strategy will be different, but that it is important for institutions to develop such strategies to better face future challenges.

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