Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Consortium?

The Oregon GME Consortium provides an infrastructure to enable the expansion of Graduate Medical Education (GME) beyond what can be developed by individual hospitals and organizations. The ultimate goal of the Consortium is to train excellent physicians who will provide the highest quality of care to patients living in rural and underserved regions of Oregon.

2. What is the mission of the Consortium?

The mission of the Consortium is to increase the number of physicians who practice in rural and underserved areas throughout the state of Oregon. The Consortium serves as a sustainable, cost-efficient infrastructure to support high-quality residency programs located in Consortium member communities, through institutional sponsorship, faculty development and expertise, and best-practice sharing among members and other existing residency programs in the state.

3. What is the current physician workforce shortage?

Oregon is facing a critical primary care physician shortage. A recent study estimates the need for an additional 1,726 physicians, 332 nurse practitioners, and 168 physician assistants in Oregon. These numbers do not include those who leave the workforce due to retirement, relocation, and reduced work hours.

4. What types of organizations are included in the Consortium?

Participants include organizations with a stake in providing access to excellent primary care. Currently, Consortium members include hospitals, physician groups, health insurance companies and both of Oregon’s medical schools.

5. What is the purpose of the Consortium?

The Consortium is an organized approach to address the physician workforce shortage throughout the State of Oregon.

6. Why is the Consortium necessary?

If the physician workforce shortage is not addressed, Oregonians will continue to struggle for easy access to healthcare services. The Consortium brings together the right players – medical schools, hospitals, and other health organizations – to create residency programs that will help increase the physician workforce.

7. How will the Consortium improve the physician workforce shortage?

Through the Consortium, new residency programs located throughout the state will be created. These programs will allow medical school graduates to remain in Oregon to complete their residency training.

8. How will the Consortium be funded?

The funding model for the Consortium has not been finalized but will include support from federal sources as well as contributions from Consortium members. Additional support is envisioned to come from the state and community and philanthropic organizations.

Currently, federal programs from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) provide payments for graduate medical programs, but those payments fall short of covering program costs.

9. Do the individual organizations in the Consortium benefit financially from the Consortium?

No. Member organizations do not benefit financially through their participation. Benefits are seen through GME infrastructure cost efficiencies, increased access to qualified healthcare providers, a decrease in recruiting costs, and a decrease in provider turnover.

10. How do communities benefit from the Consortium?

Residency programs have far-reaching benefits, including: job creation; increased patient access to care; and cost savings to taxpayers by providing care to low-income residents. Residency programs also strengthen hospitals by decreasing recruitment costs and reducing emergency department visits by the uninsured, resulting in a decrease in uncompensated care.

11. What happens if the Consortium does not receive state funding?

The Oregon State Legislature has recognized the need to address the physician shortage and maldistribution within the state. While state funding is important, the effort would continue with other funding sources, both private and public.

12. How much money does the Consortium require to begin?

Financial modeling is still underway to determine the exact cost for full implementation of the Consortium. Preliminary contribution expectations for each member organization are $25,000 for start-up costs. Future contributions will be determined as membership agreements are finalized.

13. How many healthcare providers will the Consortium train?

Exact numbers are still to be determined, but it is envisioned that more than 70 new residency positions could be created through the Consortium.

14. Will each participating organization have the same number of residents?

The number at each organization will vary. Each residency program will be hosted by an individual hospital due to accreditation and CMS GME payment regulations; however, the Consortium will have the ability to allocate residents among various members to maximize the educational experience for residents and provide exposure to a variety of training environments to increase the likelihood that residents will establish practices in the areas of the state where they are needed most.

15. Who oversees the quality and structure of the Consortium residency programs?

The residency programs will be structured in accordance with standards of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

16. Which other states are creating similar organizations to address the physician workforce shortage?

The consortium model is relatively new. Georgia has developed a consortium model for GME expansion, and a similar project is currently underway in Indiana.