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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

GW Researchers Estimate the Cost of Training Residents at Teaching Health Centers

A recently published analysis by Dr. Marsha Regenstein, Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, and their colleagues at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University (GW) estimates the cost of training medical residents in the federal Teaching Health Center (THC) Graduate Medical Education program. The analysis found it costs $157,602 per resident per year to provide training in the THC program, $62,602 more than the current payment rate of $95,000.

The program was created in 2011 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the express goal of increasing the number of primary care doctors and dentists practicing in under served parts of the United States. The ACA also required that researchers determine the actual cost of training medical residents in the Teaching Health Centers so that an appropriate payment rate could be established. To do so, Dr. Regenstein, Dr. Mullan and colleagues collected detailed data on the costs of residency programs through a newly-designed costing survey completed by THC programs that had residents during the 2013-2014 academic year. They included typical training costs but also factored in both clinical expenses and clinical revenues related to operating a medical residency program in a THC. Their approach differs from the way that costs for Medicare-supported residency training programs are calculated and provides a more transparent estimate of the true cost of training a primary care resident in a community-based setting such as a federally-funded community health center, rural clinic or mental health center.

The Perspective, “The Cost of Residency Training in Teaching Health Centers,” was published online June 29, 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more.