IN THE MIDST OF ONGOING DOCTOR SHORTAGE ACROSS UPSTATE NEW YORK, SCHUMER VOWS TO LEAD CHARGE FOR FIRST-EVER DUTCHESS COUNTY MED SCHOOL; URGES CONGRESS TO PASS CRITICAL LEGISLATION THAT WILL DELIVER MORE DOCTORS TO UPSTATE NEW YORK
This September, Marist College And Health Quest Announced Their Partnership To Establish The First Medical School In Poughkeepsie At Vassar Brothers Medical Center, The Marist Health Quest School Of Medicine; Schumer Today Voiced His Full Support For The Project, Vowed To Lead It Through The Accreditation Process
Additionally, With Upstate New York Still Plagued By A Major Shortage Of Doctors, Schumer Called On Congress To Pass The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act At Once
Schumer: New Med School In Poughkeepsie And Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act Are Just What The Doctor Ordered
Standing at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center Construction Site in Poughkeepsie, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced his full support for the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine. Schumer explained that this September, Marist College and Health Quest announced that they would be partnering to establish and operate a new medical school in Poughkeepsie, at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center, named the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine. Schumer said that this new medical school would help address Upstate New York’s shortage of doctors, as doctors who train in an area are more likely to end up practicing there, and vowed to lead the charge in helping the Marist Health Quest School of medicine through its upcoming accreditation process. Additionally, Schumer continued his push to pass The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act. Schumer explained that this critical legislation would add 15,000 more Medicare-supported residency training slots for doctors, helping to ensure teaching hospitals can train enough physicians to meet the growing demand for physicians, as the United States -- and much of Upstate New York -- is in the midst of a doctor shortage. Schumer said that establishing the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine, in tandem with passing The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, would significantly enhance health care services throughout the Hudson Valley and Upstate New York by helping to address the state’s doctor shortage.
“Today, I couldn’t be more excited to announce my full-fledged support for the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine here in the Hudson Valley. This top-notch facility will be located right here on the Vassar Brothers Medical Center campus, and eventually host 480 medical students per year,” said Senator Schumer. “Establishing this new med school will create jobs and both boost the Hudson Valley economy and address the region’s doctor shortage, as physicians who train in an area are more likely to end up practicing there. I’m proud to work hand-in-hand with Marist College and Health Quest on this much-needed project, and will help to shepherd the new med school through its accreditation process.”
Schumer added, “Additionally, this doctor shortage plaguing Upstate New York is why I am proud to co-sponsor The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act and why, throughout my Senate career, I have worked to identify solutions to the alarming problem of doctor shortages. This bill tackles the doctor shortage head-on by creating 15,000 new residency training slots nationwide and prioritizing those slots for communities that need them most.”
Schumer's push comes amidst an increasing doctor shortage in parts of the Hudson Valley and across Upstate New York. A recent survey of hospitals by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) found that: 71 percent of respondents said their current primary care capacity is insufficient to meet current patient needs, with 77 percent reporting a deficit to meet future needs. 81 percent of respondents indicated that primary care physicians are very difficult to recruit, while 84 percent indicated that recruitment of primary care physicians is one of their critical strategies for improving access to care. 72 percent of respondents indicated that their ability to recruit primary care physicians remained the same or worsened, and 86 percent of upstate hospitals report that there are times when they have to transfer patients from the emergency department because the care they need is not available.
Schumer said that in September of this year, Marist College and Health Quest announced plans to open the first-ever medical school in Poughkeepsie called the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine. Schumer explained that the med school will be located on the Vassar Brothers Medical Center campus in a new 100,000 square-foot facility that will house classrooms as well as faculty. Schumer explained that the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine plans to employ 100 people on a full-time basis, as well as create additional construction jobs to build the facility. The Marist Quest School of Medicine will accept 60 medical students in its first year of operation, and 120 students by its sixth year of operation. Schumer said that the new med school would be both a shot in the arm to the Hudson Valley economy and that it would improve health care services in the region by bringing prestige and new physicians to the region.
Schumer explained that before opening its doors, the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine will need to receive accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. While the accreditation process has yet to start, Schumer vowed to lead the charge in ensuring that the med school receives full accreditation and is able to open its doors to students as expeditiously as possible.
In addition to establishing the Marist Health Quest School of Medicine, Schumer said that passing The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act would help address Upstate New York’s physician shortage. The "Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act" (S. 1301), introduced by Senator Bill Nelson, tackles this problem head-on by boosting the number of residency slots that teaching hospitals can offer to new physicians. Currently, Medicare provides funding for hospitals to host a specific number of residents at a given time through Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding. This legislation would allow Medicare to fund an additional 3,000 slots each year for five years. Schumer added that, since 2002, medical school enrollment has increased nearly 30 percent but the 1997 cap on Medicare support for graduate medical education GME restricted the ability of teaching hospitals to properly train this potential influx of new doctors.
Medicare, through its GME payment system, compensates teaching hospitals for the costs directly related to training residents. Medicare does not make payments related to the education of medical students. Schumer said the cost to hospitals of training a resident averages $100,000 or more a year, of which Medicare covers roughly 40 percent of that total.
The bill would enhance America's health care infrastructure by expanding the number of Medicare-supported physician residency training positions. Half of these new residency slots would be used for resident training in a shortage specialty residency program. Priority is given to hospitals in states with new medical schools, hospitals that have hit their resident limit, hospitals that work with the Veterans Administration (VA), hospitals that emphasize training in community-based settings or in hospital outpatient departments; Hospitals not located in a rural area and operate an approved “rural track” program.
Additionally, hospitals in states that emphasize training in community-based settings, or hospital outpatient departments would also receive preference when applying for additional slots to host physician residents. Schumer noted that, given New York's physician shortage and its focus on community health center-based care, the state could be well positioned to receive a number of the slots the legislation would create.
Schumer also touted recent wins the in this year’s omnibus spending bill that would improve the number of physicians and other providers in the area. Previously, the administration proposed cutting the GME program by $40 billion. Schumer said he fought back against these cuts because communities across Upstate New York are already lacking physicians and argued that cuts to the programs could exacerbate the situation. The omnibus deal also includes a $3.3 billion investment in beating back the opioid epidemic, which includes $415 billion in funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration to create more access to addiction and mental health treatment in underserved areas and goes towards funding for Community Health Centers.
Schumer was joined by Dr. Glenn Loomis, Chief Medical Operations Officer of Health Quest; Dr. Christopher Stenberg, Vice President of Medical Education and Designated Institution Official of Health Quest; and Dr. Geoff Bracket, Executive Vice President of Maris College.
“With upstate New York and the entire nation facing a worsening physician shortage, the timing could not be better for the first-ever medical school in Dutchess County,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “Now the federal government must do its part by protecting graduate medical education funding and passing a common sense bill that will produce many more doctors in the years to come. New York’s entire hospital community is deeply grateful to Senator Schumer for his strong support of the Health Quest-Marist plan to establish a medical school and his unsurpassed leadership in protecting and strengthening America’s teaching hospitals.”
“Senator Schumer has been a leader in the fight to bolster and protect New York’s teaching hospitals and HANYS is proud to support his efforts to protect valuable GME resources from harmful cuts,” said HANYS President Bea Grause, RN, JD. “GME provides critical support to New York’s world-renowned teaching hospitals as they step up to face the challenge of the looming physician shortage. HANYS will continue to partner with the Senator as he leads the charge in Congress to pass the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act to bring more GME resources into the state to support new and innovative medical education programs like that of Health Quest and Marist College.”
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