ACP pleased with continued increase in internal medicine residency positions in 2017

Reforms still needed for administrative burdens and cost of medical education

Philadelphia, March 17, 2017 -- Internal medicine programs offered 7,233 residency positions this year, about a 3 percent increase from 7,024 in 2016, according to the 2017 National Resident Matching Program. Of the 7,101 (98.2 percent) internal medicine positions filled, 3,245 (44.9 percent) positions were filled with U.S. medical school seniors.

“The American College of Physicians is happy to see the continued overall positive trend of internal medicine residency positions,” said Philip Masters, MD, FACP, Vice President for Membership, ACP. “ACP is concerned about the decreasing percentage of slots filled by U.S. medical school seniors. To reverse this trend and to ensure that patients have access to general internal medicine and primary care physicians who specialize in preventing and treating complex, chronic conditions, policymakers must take steps to reduce administrative burdens and prioritize graduate medical education funding.”

While Internal medicine continues to be the largest training specialty, offering over one-quarter (25.1 percent) of all postgraduate year one (PGY-1) positions, only about 18 percent of internal medicine residents eventually choose to specialize in general internal medicine, while 15 percent choose to become hospitalists.

Internal medicine enrollment numbers have increased every year since 2012: 5,226 in 2012; 6,242 in 2013; 6,465 in 2014; 6,698 in 2015; 6,938 in 2016; and 7,101 in 2017. The percentage of U.S. seniors who matched to PGY-1 internal medicine positions in 2017 (18.6 percent; 3,245 total) in 2017 was slightly less than in 2016 (19.3 percent; 3,291 total).

“It is notable that as the overall number of graduate medical education training positions offered nationally has increased, the percentage of those slots filled by U.S. medical school seniors has steadily decreased,” Dr. Masters said. “At the same time, the percentage of these slots filled by international medical graduates has steadily increased. ACP hopes that the recent court ruling blocking the executive order on immigration will allow time for medical residents from the six countries to obtain a visa in time for their July 1 start date, and that the EO is ultimately rescinded.”

The 2017 match showed a continuing increase of U.S. medical graduates who matched in internal medicine-primary care (156 in 2010, 166 in 2011, 186 in 2012, 200 in 2013, 202 in 2014, 206 in 2015, 210 in 2016, and 224 in 2017). Medicine-pediatrics decreased to 291 in 2017 from 329 in 2016.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.


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