Tester works to train more doctors in underserved Montana

Senator’s bill increases residency spots for first time in two decades

(U.S. Senate) – With experts predicting a crisis-level shortage of qualified physicians in the next decade, Senator Jon Tester is working to create more training opportunities for medical graduates.

Tester is sponsoring the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act to increase the number of Medicare-funded residency positions for the first time in two decades. The bill would create 15,000 new residency positions nationwide over a five-year period.

Medicare currently supports 87,000 residency slots. However, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that the U.S. will face of shortage of 46,000-90,000 physicians (both primary care and specialty) by 2025. According to the National Women’s Law Center, nearly a quarter of Montanans live in a medically underserved area.

“As America’s population ages and as more folks suffer from mental health issues, we need a medical workforce that can keep up with demand,” Tester said. “Investing in medical professionals now so they can better serve folks in the years to come will pay dividends for decades.”

Tester’s bill could help support mental health treatment in eastern Montana by allowing Billings Clinic to rely on these Medicare-supported positions to train residents in psychiatry.

The Senator is also pushing VA Montana to establish a residency program with the University of Washington to help improve access to care for veterans.

Tester’s Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act is available online HERE.