Casey, Specter, Kanjorski Introduce Bills to Increase Federal Funding for New Medical Schools

The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton Would Be Eligible for Funding as a Result of Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) today joined Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) to introduce companion bills in the Senate and House, respectively, which would authorize $250 million in federal funding over five years to encourage the development of new medical schools, like The Commonwealth Medical College, and as a result increase the number of doctors in the United States.  The Medical Education Development Act would greatly impact our country’s health care system at a time when more health care workers are desperately needed to address the high demands on the system. 

“We as a nation have to increase our efforts to educate and train more physicians in order to meet the growing need for quality medical services,” said Senator Casey.  “This legislation will help schools like The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton fill that need.  I look forward to working with Congressman Kanjorski, Senator Specter and my other Senate colleagues to pass this vital legislation.”

“Increased federal support for new medical schools in our country will both raise the quality of education and improve access to health care,” said Senator Specter.  “This legislation will be of tremendous assistance to institutions like The Commonwealth Medical College in northeast Pennsylvania, a region where a recent study estimated one third of the practicing physicians are expected to retire in the next decade.” 

“Our health care system is facing extreme difficulties and it is currently overwhelmed by the number of patients as compared to the number of doctors,” said Congressman Kanjorski.  “This legislation would encourage the creation of new medical schools throughout the country and also assist those developed in the past year, including The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton.  We must make sure that patients get the care they need, and in order to do that, we need to have more doctors.  These bills will encourage just that.  Additionally, I thank Senator Casey’s efforts in the Senate to introduce this legislation.”

 “New medical schools are not only about training new doctors for America. They are about attracting physicians to serve as faculty raising the quality of care and improving access to health care,” said Robert D’Alessandri, MD, President of The Commonwealth Medical College.  “These faculty and the research they contribute will also have a tremendous economic impact.  This bill will allow medical schools to recruit needed faculty and provide solutions now to regional and community problems without having to wait for the pipeline of new physicians.”

The bills would create a program of grants to support new medical schools to help increase the nation’s number of physicians.  The bills apply for a five year period, and would apply to medical schools that are accredited to admit students between 2009 through 2014.  These grants will be used to create scholarships, develop academic research programs and residencies, recruit and retain faculty, and build infrastructure.  The bills would authorize $250 million to fund the grant program for a five year fiscal period beginning with fiscal year 2010.

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