A Tsunami of Outrage/ Residency Shortage
Do you remember the outrage that ensued after the 2-3 hour wait times and missed flights that occurred at O’Hare Airport the weekend of
May 14, 2016?
Frustrated passengers began tweeting #IHateThe Wait. US Senator Mark Kirk, IL, called for TSA
Administrator, Peter Neffenger, to fix this problem by Memorial Day or step
down. Even the White House weighed in on
this travesty. (1) By May 25th
Mr. Neffenger told members of House Homeland Security Committee that the agency
was taking measures to resolve this issue.
By May 24th an airline official said that O’Hare’s waits were
down to 15 minutes. That took 10 days to
This outrage is what has to happen to solve the current travesty of the residency shortage. There are no “normal channels” to solve this crisis. The Federal government is moving in typical fashion, slowly. The first legislation introduced was “Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2011. It was proposed again in 2013, and again by Senator Bill Nelson, FL, in 2015 (S1148) and by Representative Joseph Crowley (HR 2124) in the House. Nothing has been passed or implemented at this point.
This bill would increase the number of residency slots by 15,000 over a 5 year period. We already have more that 40,000 unmatched graduates right now over the last 5 years alone! The AMA and the ACGME have not proposed any solutions. Only a few states have created legislation (generally applicable only to their own citizens).
The only glimmer of hope has been the budgetary allocations some states have made. They have offered financial incentives to hospitals to increase residency slots or add new residencies. This has had some success.
Why are we not as outraged as the passengers at O”
We have to get the “word out”. We have to tweet, blog, share on facebook, contact healthcare professionals and societies, contact legislators, and yes, even the White House!