Accounting for Graduate Medical Education Funding in Family Practice Training

Family Medicine

Background and Objectives: Medicare provides the majority of funding to support graduate medical education (GME). Following the flow of these funds from hospitals to training programs is an important step in accounting for GME funding.

Methods: Using a national survey of 453 family practice residency programs and Medicare hospital cost reports, we assessed residency programs' knowledge of their federal GME funding and compared their responses with the actual amounts paid to the sponsoring hospitals by Medicare. Results: A total of 328 (72%) programs responded; 168 programs (51%) reported that they did not know how much federal GME funding they received. Programs that were the only residency in the hospital (61% versus 36%) and those that were community hospital-based programs (53% versus 22%) were more likely to know their GME allocation. Programs in hospitals with other residencies received less of their designated direct medical education payment than programs that were the only residency in the sponsoring hospital (-45% versus +19%).

Conclusions: More than half of family practice training programs do not know how much GME they receive. These findings call for improved accountability in the use of Medicare payments that are designated for medical education.

WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Frederick Chen, Robert Phillips Jr, Ronald Schneeweiss, Holly Andrilla, Gary Hart, George Fryer Jr, Susan Casey, Roger Rosenblatt