Durbin Discusses Bolstering Health Care Workforce With Chicago Medical Society

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with members of the Chicago Medical Society to discuss the challenges physicians face in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including short-staffing and burnout. During their meeting, Durbin spoke about his efforts to bolster the health care workforce by pursuing federal funding to expand residency slots for Illinois hospitals, build the pipeline of health professionals through the National Health Service Corps, and secure additional immigrant visas for foreign nurses and physicians. 

“Our health care professionals put their all into caring for their patients, but the demands of our health care system are creating new challenges.  We must listen to their concerns and collaborate to bolster the health care workforce and address the high rates of burnout,” said Durbin.  “I had an insightful conversation with the Chicago Medical Society about how the federal government can best support our physicians to serve our communities.”

A photo of the meeting is available here 

Last month, Durbin announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded new Medicare Graduate Medical Education funding to support an additional 14 residency slots for hospitals in Chicago and Peoria.  The funding will assist hospitals in expanding medical training opportunities for new doctors and help address the nation’s physician shortage.

It’s estimated that the United States will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians over the next decade, in part stemming from the strains caused by the pandemic.  These workforce shortages harm patient access to care and exacerbate racial and ethnic health disparities.  These new federally funded residency slots are part of the initial investment made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021