Legislation would create 1,000 new addiction-specific residency positions
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), both members of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced the bipartisan Opioid Workforce Act to help hospitals hire and train more doctors in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management.
The bipartisan legislation would create 1,000 new medical residency positions specific to addiction at teaching hospitals in Maine, New Hampshire, and across the country. Their bipartisan bill builds on progress that the Senators made through the December COVID-19 relief and government funding package, which increased the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education training positions by 1,000, but wasn’t specific on what field the positions would be in.
“Our country was already facing a shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and pain management before the pandemic began, and the ongoing public health crisis has only exacerbated the opioid epidemic and the growing demand for treatment services. In Maine, there is only one addiction medicine program,” said Senator Collins. “Last year, 502 Mainers died from overdoses, a tragic record that exceeded the deaths caused by COVID-19 in 2020. Our bipartisan bill would help increase resources for those struggling with addiction by expanding the number of these specialists and creating new residency programs in Maine and across the country.”
“Medical professionals who are trained to understand and treat addiction can make an enormous difference in the lives of Granite Staters with substance use disorder. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find doctors who specialize in this field, particularly in rural areas,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan legislation would help teaching hospitals, such as Dartmouth-Hitchcock, hire more residents who specialize in addiction medicine, which in turn will help more Granite Staters who are battling addiction receive the health care that they need.”
The Opioid Workforce Act would add an additional 1,000 residency positions specific to addiction and would allow medical facilities to hire positions both through the new positions created through the December COVID-19 relief package and the new positions that the Opioid Workforce Act would create. Each hospital can create up to 25 positions through the legislation.