What GAO Found
In fiscal year (FY) 2012, we found that four federal departments--the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense, and Department of Education--administered 91 programs that supported postsecondary training or education specifically for direct care health professionals. The departments reported obligating about $14.2 billion for these programs in FY 2012 with the majority (78 percent) of funding going to programs that supported graduate medical education--postgraduate internship and residency training for physicians and certain other health professionals. Specifically, two programs administered by HHS's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services--Medicare payments to teaching hospitals for Direct Graduate Medical Education and Medicare payments to teaching hospitals for Indirect Medical Education-- accounted for about 66 percent of total reported health care workforce training funding in FY 2012.
The remaining federal funding for health care workforce training went towards 84 programs that provided or supported instruction or clinical training, including continuing education, to direct care health professionals; provided financial assistance to direct care health professionals and students; or provided a combination of these services. Across the 84 programs, trainees received differing levels of assistance ranging from participation in short term continuing education courses to full support for tuition, books, and stipends for living expenses.
Why GAO Did This Study
To ensure a sufficient supply of physicians, nurses, dentists, and other health care health professionals who deliver clinical or rehabilitative care for the nation, the federal government supports health care workforce training through various federal departments and programs. To better understand the scope of the federal government's role in health care workforce training, this report identifies federal programs that supported postsecondary training and education for health care professionals in FY 2012, including information about program purpose, funding, and targeted health professionals.
GAO is not making recommendations. GAO provided a draft to the agencies reviewed for comment. HHS and VA provided technical comments, which were incorporated into the report as appropriate. The other agencies reviewed had no comments.