Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

aamcsymbol.gifThe AAMC and the medical schools, teaching hospitals, academic and professional societies, faculty, residents, and students we represent are committed to improving the nation's health through medical education, research, and high-quality patient care. We are dedicated to the communities we serve, committed to advancing the public good, and steadfast in our desire to earn and keep the public's trust for the role we are privileged to play in our society.

Health Care Reform Principles

The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) today issued six principles to help guide reform of the nation's health care system. Noting that the United States health care system faces a crisis of access, cost, and quality, the AAMC document calls for U.S. medical schools and major teaching hospitals to play "a pivotal role in improving health and health care and in achieving positive changes in the health care system," given their significant roles as health care providers, educators of future physicians, and discoverers of new scientific knowledge. Such reform must improve both health care delivery and financing, while preserving the greatest strengths of the current system. The goal of the new AAMC principles is to guide this process.

Medicaid Cuts Will Endanger Patient Care and Hurt All Americans

On May 23, 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed rules that would eliminate federal matching funds for Medicaid graduate medical education (GME) payments to the nation’s teaching hospitals.

 The CMS has also finalized a second rule that imposes new restrictions on payments to health care providers operated by
units of governments that will eliminate another key source of Medicaid funding.

Unless Congress acts to stop these rules beforeMay 25, U.S. teaching hospitals in 47 states and the District of Columbia will lose at least $1.7 billion in federal GME support, jeopardizing the physician training and vital patient care services on which all Americans depend.

Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research

VA research is patient oriented, focusing on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions prevalent in the veteran population.More than three-quarters of VA researchers are clinicians who provide direct patient care to veterans. As a result, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)—the largest integrated medical care system in the world—has a unique ability to translate progress in medical science directly to improvements in clinical practices.

Health Professions Programs: Training Providers, Improving Access

The health professions and nursing education programs, authorized under Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act, are essential components of the nationwide health care safety net, bringing health care services to our rural and underserved communities. The health professions programs support the training and education of health care providers with the aim of enhancing the supply, diversity, and distribution of the workforce, filling the gaps in the supply of health professionals not met by traditional market forces.

NIH-Funded Medical Research Provides A Significant Return on Our Nation’s Investment

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the principal federal funder of medical research. An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NIH comprises 27 Institutes and Centers.
The bulk (83 percent) of NIH-supported research is conducted through 50,000 grants awarded to 325,000 researchers at more than 3,000 institutions (extramural research); more than half of all extramural funding supports researchers at the nation’s medical schools and many major teaching hospitals. About 10 percent of the NIH budget supports intramural research, or research conducted by the NIH’s 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories, while the remaining 7 percent supports research management and other activities.

Support House and Senate Legislation to Continue the Moratorium on the GME Proposed Rule

On May 23 CMS issued a proposed rule asserting that Medicaid lacks the “statutory authority” to match payments for graduate medical education (GME) activities. Specifically, if this proposed “GME Rule” were implemented, states would not receive federal Medicaid matching payments for direct graduate medical education (DGME).

CMS estimated that eliminating the federal Medicaid match for DGME would reduce federal outlays by an estimated $1.78 billion over 5 years. Congress responded by imposing a one-year moratorium prohibiting (until May 25, 2008) implementation of the proposed GME rule, as well as implementation of the final rule on Medicaid cost limits/units of government (the “IGT Final Rule”). The proposed GME rule and the IGT final rule are among several regulatory changes issued by CMS in the past year. The other rules affect payments for outpatient care, school/community-based services, and rehabilitation.