Graduate Medical Education (GME), also called residency, refers to any type of formal medical education pursued after receipt of the MD or DO degree. This education can last anywhere from three to five or more years and includes internship, residency, subspecialty, and fellowship programs leading to state licensure and board certification.
The Need for an Increase in GME Slots
In many parts of the Commonwealth, there is an urgent need to increase capacity for primary care services for all, especially in our underserved communities. Since the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 capped the amount of federal dollars teaching hospitals receive to support residency programs, Virginia realized the need to develop innovative ways to create additional residency training slots to meet the challenge of Virginia medical school graduates outpacing the number of residency positions in the state. And with the state’s growing aging and diverse populations, it’s more critical than ever to produce a physician workforce that meets the changing health care needs.
Meeting the Needs
In 2015 the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA) convened a GME Task Force, led by Senator George Barker, to study residency programs and State-funded models of support, and developed recommendations to address the needs. The GME Task Force was comprised of representatives from stakeholder groups including Virginia’s medical schools, hospital systems, the Joint Commission on Health Care, Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association, Medical Society of Virginia, Virginia Community Health Care Association, Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Health Professions. As a result of the stakeholders’ efforts, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), a new Medicaid GME program was established.