Advocacy Priorities

Graduate Medical Education and Physician Workforce Shortage

Ensuring a Well-Trained Physician Workforce
Increase Federally Funded Physician Training Programs

Request

Urologists urge Congress to acknowledge the importance of specialty medicine and address urological workforce shortages that jeopardize patient access to care. We urge lawmakers to support legislation aimed at this problem, including S. 348, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (Menendez, Boozman, Schumer).

Background

The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act will provide much-needed improvements to the nation's graduate medical education (GME) system. In particular, the bill preserves access to specialty care by: increasing the number of GME residency slots by 15,000 over the next five years; directing half of the newly available positions to training in shortage specialties such as urology; specifying priorities for distributing the new slots (e.g., states with new medical schools); and studying the needs of the U.S. healthcare system to allocate residencies accordingly.

Rationale

The United States will face an overall shortage of more than 130,000 physicians by 2025 and one-half of this shortage will come from specialty physicians such as urologists. Urology has seen a greater than 10 percent decline in the number of urologists per capita over the past 20 years. In 2009, there were only 3.18 urologists per 100,000 population, which marked a 30-year low in the labor force for our field. The average age of a urologist is 52.5 years, with more than 44 percent of urologists age 55 or older, making our specialty the second oldest only to thoracic surgery. In addition, training for urologists following graduation from medical school is a minimum of five years and frequently longer.

The Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions, in its 2008 report, projected a need for 16,000 urologists by 2020. This is congruent with other independent projections that show that by 2030 urology will face a 32 percent deficiency in the number of providers necessary to adequately care for a projected population of 364 million U.S. citizens. A recent American Urological Association (AUA) Workforce and Compensation Survey indicated that up to 20 percent of currently practicing urologists plan to retire in the next five to ten years. We must take steps now to ensure a fully trained specialty physician workforce for the future.

Download Issue Brief

Advocacy Priorities
  • Prostate Cancer Screening and Awareness

    Eliminating Misdiagnosis and Reducing Wasteful Medicare SpendingEvery 20 minutes an American man dies from prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 161,360 men were told they have prostate cancer in 2017. Early detection is critical because research shows the five-year survival...

  • IPAB Repeal

    IPAB permanently repealed in a major victory for the AACU and urology communityThe AACU is pleased to report that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892) included provisions to repeal the Independent Physicians Advisory Board (IPAB), a 15-member panel of unelected officials that had the...

  • Graduate Medical Education and Physician Workforce Shortage

    Ensuring a Well-Trained Physician Workforce Increase Federally Funded Physician Training ProgramsRequestUrologists urge Congress to acknowledge the importance of specialty medicine and address urological workforce shortages that jeopardize patient access to care. We urge lawmakers to support...

  • The Impact of Pharmacy Benefit Managers on Access to Affordable Treatment

    Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have a significant impact on prescription drug costs and the ability of patients to obtain the medications they need in a timely and affordable manner, and yet very little is known about their role. The AACU is dedicated to working with policymakers at both the...

  • Improve Preventive Task Force Recommendations, Preserve Access to Prostate Cancer Screening

    The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) plays a critical role in preventive care because its recommendations dictate what preventive services many health plans must provide without cost sharing. Currently, however, the USPSTF has little accountability. Task Force members are...

  • Medical Liability Reform: Protect Physician Volunteers During National Disasters

    Protection for Physician Disaster VolunteersClinical urologists urge support for the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2017, introduced in the House by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) and in the Senate by Sen. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA). This crucial legislation seeks to shield medical...

  • Modernize Law Restricting Coordinated Care (“Stark Law”)

    When Congress enacted the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, it replaced a fundamentally flawed reimbursement framework with a program promoting value-based care delivery. Value-based care, as measured by the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment...

  • Patients Over Paperwork: Reducing the Burden of Medicare Red Tape

    Urologists across the country treat a high volume of Medicare patients and therefore deal with the program’s numerous requirements and complex payment structures on a near daily basis. The AACU is dedicated to working with legislators and policymakers to identify ways to simplify and...

State Advocacy
  • Fair Contracting and Medical Practice Freedom

    Where We Stand Ensure openness and fairness in health care provider contacts. Prevent third-party payors from changing the terms of their provider contract without notice to the provider and without the consent of the provider. Ensure that physician licensure is based upon a physician's...

  • Medical Liability Reform — Expert Witness Qualifications

    Strengthen expert witness standards Ensure that expert witness is from the same specialty as the defendant physician Prevent frivolous lawsuits Improve the practice environment for physicians in your stateWhenever a physician’s conduct is being called into question, it is only fair...

  • Prostate Cancer Awareness & Assessment

    Where We Stand Continue the progress that has been made in the reduction of prostate cancer morbidity and mortality with the appropriate use of prostate cancer testing. Ensure that third-party payors provide for the reimbursement of prostate cancer testing when the patient and his physician...

  • Uniform Prior Authorization for Prescriptions and Health Services

    Where We Stand Prior authorizations cost the health system $728 million in 2012. Prior authorization requests must use a single form, no more than two pages in length. Forms must available for both access and submission electronically. Requests are deemed approved if no response is...

  • Work Force — Scope of Practice

    Where We Stand Allow the maximum patient-to-physician ratio to increase based on the number of physician assistants in a practice. Expand the ability of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to supervise medical assistants when doctors aren’t on the premises.Proactive Physician...

Home Search Profile Privacy Policy Sign InJoin AACU Contact Twitter UROPAC Action Center