Addressing a State's Physician Workforce Priorities Through the Funding of Graduate Medical Education: The TennCare Model

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TennCare is Tennessee's innovative program that replaces the state's Medicaid program with a health care system based on managed care and designed to cover the vast majority of the state's poor and uninsured.The program provides health care benefits not only to those eligible for Medicaid, but also to the uninsured poor who do not qualify for Medicaid and those who are uninsurable because of existing medical conditions. This article describes the allocation of TennCare graduate medical education funding, which is designed to address the state's physician workforce priorities regarding specialty mix and practice location. Under the new TennCare graduate medical education funding design, funds flow to the state's 4 medical schools and then to the sites of the residents' training. Allocation to the medical schools is based primarily on the number of primary care residents in residency programs under sponsorship of each.


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