Our Legislative Committee, led by George Woodbury, M.D., Catherine Womack, M.D., and MMS Student Section President, Jennings Dooley, brought students from across the state together to form a GME Task Force through their TMA Medical Student Section. Through meetings and letters, physicians and students advocated for an increase in GME funding, which had not increased in 30 years, and directly impacts the number of resident slots available in our state.
This serves as a reminder to us all for what dedication to a cause that is right can do for healthcare in our state. Dr. Woodbury has led the charge in awareness of this issue for many years. Dr. Woodbury and many others were told that the issue was dead in the water. “We will never get more GME funding in our state” was stated by several in the know in our state. As Dr. Woodbury and others persisted, the response from elected officials became “This is the first I’ve heard of this. Tell me more.”
On another altruistic note: we have no idea how much (or how little) Memphis will benefit from this effort. It’s simply the right thing to do. More people need more access to care in our state and having more doctors in our state is an integral part of achieving that goal.
In his State of the State address today, Governor Lee recognized the importance of GME to improving healthcare access and quality, particularly in primary care and rural, under-served areas of the state, and he made a firm commitment it in the state budget.
We are thrilled by this commitment to healthcare in our state, and we congratulation our members and students who fought for and achieved change!
See TMA Comments on Gov. Lee’s State of the State Address
March 4, 2019
TMA has long advocated for increasing graduate medical education funding in Tennessee. The amount of dollars we allocate for physician training has stayed essentially the same for 30 years while the cost and demand has steadily increased. We applaud Governor Lee for recognizing the importance of GME to improving healthcare access and quality, particularly in primary care and rural, under-served areas of the state, and for making a firm commitment in the state budget. The additional funding is a good start to help us stop exporting physicians to other states.
Healthcare remains a top priority and concern for many Tennesseans and we have a lot of issues to work on, including several the governor addressed in his speech, like expanding healthcare coverage, investing in technology and continuing to fight the opioid epidemic. Tennessee’s physicians look forward to working with the Lee Administration in the pursuit of high-quality, affordable healthcare for all Tennesseans.
Matthew L. Mancini, MD, FACS
TMA President, 2018-2019