TAFP urges Legislature to support Texas family medicine residency programs

Tags: tafp, advocacy, residency, family medicine, health care costs

TAFP urges Legislature to support Texas family medicine residency programs

posted 03.24.11

The latest TAFP issue brief, “Family Medicine Residency Programs Are Critical in Training Texas’ Physician Workforce,” urges the Texas Legislature to invest in Texas’ 28 family medicine residency programs to support their work to care for the neediest populations in the state, and to ensure Texas has the primary care physician workforce to meet patients’ needs now and in the future.

The brief highlights three residency programs that have closed in the last decade because of decreased financial support: Kelsey-Seybold Family Medicine Residency Program, Christus St. Elizabeth Family Practice Residency Program, and the Texas Tech University Rural Program in Abilene. These program closings and other reductions in residency slots has resulted in a 19 percent reduction in the state’s capacity to produce family physicians at a time when need for high-quality primary care is reaching a critical point.

A strong foundation of primary care is proven to help contain health care costs and improve outcomes, the authors argue in the brief. Seventy percent of family doctors completing residency in Texas remain in the state to practice, a solid return on investment for state funds.

Family medicine residency programs received about $20 million in state support (through or from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board) during the 2010-2011 biennium. The Senate’s base budget for 2012-2013 reduces funding for graduate medical education by 29 percent of the appropriated amount for 2010-2011; the House budget eliminates all funding for these programs.

The authors urge legislators to reconsider these cuts and maintain support for Texas’ family medicine residency programs. Download the full brief on the Advocacy Resources page of TAFP’s website.