Casey, Specter, Schumer Introduce Bill to Construct and Improve Medical Schools

Legislation will boost jobs; improve quality of medical care; Kanjorski, Carney introduce House companion

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today joined U.S. Senators Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) to introduce the Medical School Construction Grant Act which would help to construct new medical school facilities or renovate and improve existing facilities. 

“Countless reports in recent years have found that our country needs to educate and train more physicians in order to meet growing need for medical services,” said Senator Casey.  “One of the key components of this task is ensuring there are enough medical schools to educate individuals to meet this need.  In order to prevent predicted physician shortages, Congress must take action to help bolster medical school construction to spur job creation in the construction industry and increase the number of physicians.”

“It is well documented that our nation is facing a shortage of physicians – especially primary care doctors – to provide adequate healthcare to all Americans,” Specter said.  “This bill will help ensure that we have the necessary infrastructure to educate the future doctors of America.”  
“This legislation will be great for communities in New York and the entire country,” Schumer said. “Making infrastructure improvements to New York’s medical schools will be good for local economies and improve the quality of healthcare. I’m proud to work with Senators Casey and Specter on this proposal and I will urge my colleagues to bring it to the floor quickly.” 

Specifically, this bill would create a program of grants to support allopathic and osteopathic medical schools to increase the nation’s number of physicians.  Schools could use these funds to construct new facilities or renovate and improve existing facilities.  First priority would be given to newly accredited schools.  Schools looking to create a new branch of an existing school and serving a medically underserved area, as defined by the Health Resources Service Administration, would also be prioritized.   

The legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) and Chris Carney (D-PA). 

“We must ensure that we have enough doctors to care for the growing number of patients throughout the country,” said Congressman Kanjorski.  “This legislation works to do just that by helping to create and expand more medical schools, like The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, to train and educate more students to become physicians.  We cannot wait as we must ensure that patients can get the care they need, while also creating jobs during a time when many construction workers are struggling to find work.”

“Ensuring that our rural communities have access to high-quality, affordable health services is one of my top priorities and educating our next generation of doctors is key toward that goal,” said Congressman Carney. “The Commonwealth Medical College is a shining example of how we can begin to address the severe shortage of physicians, particularly in rural areas. This bill will help as we continue to address that shortage nationwide.”

Without action, the United States will not have enough physicians to meet demand.  According to the Council on Graduate Medical Education, by 2020, we will face a shortage of about 85,000 physicians, due in part to the aging population.