Medical Students and Residents to Pennsylvania Legislators: Let’s Work Together to Increase Physician Workforce

Medical students from colleges throughout Pennsylvania joined with medical residents May 4-5 to tell state legislators that any projected physician shortages could be fixed by incentivizing young physicians to stay in Pennsylvania, promoting physician-led team based care, and eliminating barriers to using technology to care for patients in rural areas.

Taking to the halls of the state capitol, this message was a key point made by medical students and residents during their annual Advocacy Day.

“We have the opportunity to influence the future of medicine in Pennsylvania,” says Kinnari Patel, a third-year medical student from Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia and chair of PAMED’s Medical Student Section Governing Council. “We owe it to our colleagues and patients to address issues like loan forgiveness, residency program expansion, telehealth, and physician-led, team-based care today, and continue to stay involved as we enter the physician workforce.”

In April, a report on the physician workforce from the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission recommended strategies that included encouraging medical schools to implement programs aimed at increasing Pennsylvania’s physician supply and increasing the number of residency positions in order to train more physicians in Pennsylvania.

House Speaker Mike Turzai applauded the medical students’ participation in the advocacy day event and says he heard what they were saying that the report’s recommendations can make a difference.

“I’m glad these future physicians have the insight to be thinking ahead and working to address issues now that they could face later,” says Speaker Turzai.

Pennsylvania ranks high in the number of medical students it educates – fourth in the country for the number of medical students and fifth for medical residents per 100,000 people. But keeping them is difficult.

Nationally, it’s believed that 66.6 percent of active physicians who completed medical educations and residencies in the same state practice in that state as well. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania that percentage drops to 58.1 percent, ranking the state 34th.

Medical students also spoke up about legislation that would allow nurse practitioners to practice without a collaborative agreement with a physician.

PAMED would like to thank all the legislators and policy-makers who met with our student, resident and physician members, including:

    • Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga), Majority Chair of the House Health Committee
    • Rep. Flo Fabrizio (D-Erie), Minority Chair of the House Health Committee
    • The Honorable Rachel Levine, MD, Pennsylvania’s Acting Physician General
    • Rep. Paul Schemel (R – Franklin)
    • Sen. Judy Schwank (D- Berks)
    • Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks), Chair, Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee
    • Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), House Speaker

Read PAMED’s press release.