Schwertner Asks Medical Schools to Consider Graduate Medical Education PDF  ICON_SEP Print ICON_SEP  E-mail
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Senate Bill 1066 will ask medical schools to develop sufficient capacity in residency programs to ensure that new medical graduates can complete their training in Texas.

Friday, Senator Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) filed legislation that would require Texas medical schools to do a better job of matching medical school graduates with an in-state, post-graduate medical residency program, also known as Graduate Medical Education (GME).  SB 1066 will help ensure that the state has an adequate number of medical residencies to satisfy the needs of its medical graduates, ultimately keeping more new physicians here in Texas.

"Everyone likes the idea of building new medical schools," said Schwertner, a medical doctor who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.  "But unless we have enough in-state residency programs for the medical students we graduate, all we're doing is paying to educate new doctors and then sending them off to treat patients in Louisiana, California, and New York."

Over the last decade, as more new medical schools have come online and the number of medical school graduates has increased, Texas has struggled to maintain an equivalent number of medical residency slots to satisfy the increasing demand.  As a result, each year dozens of new physicians graduate from Texas medical schools only to find a lack of available in-state residencies.  Faced with limited options, many are forced to relocate to another state in order to complete their training.

A study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that 82% of doctors who complete their medical school and graduate medical education in Texas opt to practice in the state permanently.  A similar study by the Texas Medical Association found that these physicians are three times more likely than others to stay in-state and treat Texas patients.

"If we ever truly hope to increase access to care and grow the number of physicians treating patients here in Texas, then the conversation needs to begin and end with expanding graduate medical education," added Schwertner.

In a strong show of support, Schwertner also announced that Senators Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), Donna Campbell, MD (R-New Braunfels), Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) have all agreed to joint-author SB 1066.

A medical doctor by training, Dr. Schwertner serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.  Schwertner is currently serving his third term as the senator for Senate District 5, a ten-county region of central and east Texas.