CHICAGO, July 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing the need to increase graduate medical education (GME) funding to support the creation of more residency training positions that are needed to fill projected physician workforce shortages, the American Osteopathic Association's (AOA) House of Delegates voted today to support the creation of alternative GME funding mechanisms at the state level. The current single largest funder of GME is the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Additional funding is provided by the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Public Health Service. Since the enactment of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, teaching hospitals have been prohibited from increasing the number of resident physician training positions in their institutions. Many communities, especially those that are experiencing or have experienced a rapid population growth, are beginning to face limited access to physician services as a result. "With federal and state budgets looking to cut spending, GME programs are particularly vulnerable," explains Joseph A. Giaimo, DO, an AOA board-certified internist and pulmonologist in private practice in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and a member of the AOA Board of Trustees. "To address GME funding shortfalls, there is a critical need to examine all viable GME funding models." In passing the resolution, delegates called on the osteopathic medical profession to encourage and support the exploration of state-level GME funding initiatives that are aligned with state health policy priorities, such as an all-payor system and other alternative models that work to overcome physician workforce shortage concerns, particularly in rural and underserved areas. About the House of DelegatesThe AOA's House of Delegates, comprised of more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents and students from throughout the country, meets annually in July to set organizational policies and elect new officers.