March 18, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Medical School Professional Development & Education Physician Workforce
The National Resident Matching Program announced today that the 2016 Match Day for graduating medical students was the largest on record, with 42,370 registered applicants and 30,750 positions filled. The number of United States medical school seniors grew by 221 to 18,668, and the number of available first-year positions rose to 27,860, which is 567 more than last year. "Match Day," an annual rite of passage for future physicians, is the system through which medical school students and graduates obtain residency positions in U.S. accredited training programs.
Despite the high numbers of candidates matching with residency programs this year, hundreds of qualified California students must leave the state to study elsewhere due to a lack of funding for graduate medical training, highlighting the need to pass Senate Bill 22.
“Each year, California is fortunate to have thousands of ambitious medical students apply for residencies across the state, eager to improve the health of their communities,” said Steven E. Larson, M.D., MPH, president of the California Medical Association. “Many of these physicians-in-training will one day be the backbone of health care in our state. But sadly, some will be forced to head elsewhere, since current funding levels are not high enough to ensure enough residency spots in California. The data tells us that if a medical student is forced to leave the state to complete his or her training, it is more likely they will stay and practice out of state, despite our desperate need for more physicians, particularly in primary care.”
California has lost tens of millions of dollars in funding for primary care physician training. In 2016 alone, more than $40 million of funding for the training of California’s primary care physicians is expiring.
To help combat a physician shortage in the state and protect patients’ access to care, the state legislature is currently considering SB 22, which would direct state funds to new and existing graduate medical education primary care physician residency positions and support training medical school faculty.
“Solving California’s dire physician shortage is critical to the health care for all Californians,” said Senator Richard Roth, author of SB 22. “I introduced Senate Bill 22 to fund additional medical residency positions throughout our state’s medically underserved areas, especially in Inland Southern California and the Central Valley. Studies have shown that if we train tomorrow’s doctors in the areas that need them most, they are more likely to continue serving those areas, helping alleviate critical physician shortages and ensuring equal access to health care.”
SB 22 has passed the Senate and is expected to be taken up by the Assembly Health Committee in June.