Four new medical schools have opened or will open this decade in Texas. According to the Texas Medical Association, the number of graduates is forecasted to peak at more than 1,700 by 2020. But where will these Texas medical school graduates complete their training?
The answer to this question matters because most medical school graduates who complete their residency training in Texas stay here to practice medicine. Those who leave typically don’t return home. Without a sufficient number of residency training slots, Texas will experience a major brain drain of medical talent that will be very hard to overcome. Our state’s rapidly growing population will bear the consequences.
The 83rd Legislature appropriated $50 million to boost GME funding and increase access to physicians in underserved areas. This funding is absolutely essential for plugging the brain drain.
Texas hospitals can access some of these education and training funds by applying for grants from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop new GME programs, expand existing programs and fund unfilled positions. There are currently three active RFAs with application due dates ofSept. 8:
- The Unfilled Position Grants RFA seeks applications from existing, eligible residency programs that have accreditor-approved but unfilled first-year residency positions.
- The New and Expanded Programs RFA seeks applications from GME programs or sponsoring institutions intending to increase and fill the number of accreditor-approved first-year residency positions in existing programs, and/or establish new GME programs with first-year positions.
- The Planning Grants RFA seeks applications from entities that do not currently have a GME program but would like to examine the feasibility of implementing one.
I strongly encourage any interested hospitals to look closely at these grant opportunities. The 83rd Legislature made a critical investment in the future physician workforce and we need to capitalize on it.