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New Resources for GME Development in Underserved Areas

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the body responsible for accrediting medical residency programs, is providing new pathways for teaching hospitals to expand the health care workforce into underserved areas and populations.

Through an initiative to promote the development of graduate medical education (GME) that will enhance access to health care in medically underserved areas (MUAs) and medically underserved populations (MUPs), the ACGME has made available two rural track program (RTP) designations to accredited residency programs. RTPs are partnerships between urban and rural hospitals to train residents at rural hospitals or nonhospital training sites and allow the rural and urban hospitals to increase their full-time equivalent cap for Medicare GME reimbursement purposes.

Since June 2021, ACGME has offered a type 1 RTP designation for new programs; this designation can be requested at the time of application for ACGME accreditation. In May 2022, ACGME will offer a type 2 RTP designation for programs that are already accredited programs and looking to expand by adding a new rural track. The ACGME will host a webinar on May 5, at 4 pm ET, for hospitals interested in type 2 RTP designation.

Separate from the RTP designations, the ACGME seeks nominations for an advisory group that will help the council develop its MUA/MUP framework to bring teaching programs into underserved areas. The ACGME seeks members to assist with:

  • developing organizational knowledge of issues related to GME and MUA/MUP;
  • outreach efforts to designated institutional officials, program directors, and others; and
  • developing educational opportunities to facilitate GME development.

Advisory group members will serve an initial three-year term with the option for renewal. Nominations are due June 1.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Shahid Zaman is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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