Dr. Secrest Supports Improvements to Grow GME

Testimony by Leslie Secrest, MD

Senate Higher Education
Senate Bill 143
March 27, 2013

My name is Leslie Secrest. I am a psychiatrist in Dallas and chair of the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Legislation. I’m here today representing the 47,000 physician and medical student members of the association.  

Senator Nelson, we would like to extend our appreciation to you for taking a lead in tackling the graduate medical education bottleneck in our state. I also would like to recognize you, Chairman Seliger, for your leadership and EACH member of this committee for your commitment to expanding GME. 

As you know, our capacity to train young doctors has not kept pace with our state’s population growth. This has put a squeeze on the resident training capacity in the state. We need to ensure all of our medical school graduates have a reasonable chance of staying in the state to complete their training as a doctor.  Otherwise, we can expect to lose some great young doctors to other states. This bill is needed to produce more doctors in Texas.

It also will help our state respond to the growing medical specialty needs. Tying GME expansions to the population’s changing demographics is critical moving forward.

This bill takes the necessary step of addressing the hospital side of costs for training doctors.  We support the planning grants for hospitals included in the bill and feel this is critically important for developing new hospital training partners for our medical schools.

In addition, TMA strongly supports the state’s physician education loan repayment program. We recognize this is one of our most valuable assets in recruiting physicians to our underserved communities, and this helps young doctors choose careers in primary care. 

Thank you for your leadership and work on this bill. I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today.

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