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Internal medicine residency match increases slightly from last year, but policies still needed to ensure patient access to general internists

Philadelphia, March 15, 2019 -- The 2019 Main Residency Match revealed that internal medicine remains the largest training specialty, offering one-quarter (25.2 percent) of all PGY-1 positions in the Match. Internal medicine programs offered a record high 8,116 categorical positions and 396 primary care positions, an increase of 574 categorical positions (7.6 percent) and 22 primary care positions (5.9 percent) from the 2018 Match. Of these positions, 7,733 (97.7 percent) were filled, 3,424 (44.3 percent) by U.S. medical school seniors.

“The continual annual increases in the number of offered and matched internal medicine positions demonstrates national recognition for the value provided by internists in our health care system. Internists specialize in preventive care, diagnostic evaluations, acute problem management, and long-term care for multiple complex conditions,” said Davoren Chick, MD, FACP, senior vice president of medical education, American College of Physicians. ”However, currently only about 11 percent of graduating internal medicine residents report planning a career in general internal medicine, including primary care medicine, with an additional 19 percent planning to pursue hospital medicine.”

Combined internal medicine enrollment numbers have increased every year for the past 10 years. During this same period, the percentage of U.S. seniors matching to postgraduate year one (PGY-1) internal medicine positions has been declining, and was again lower in 2019 (42.4 percent), another two percent decline from 2018 (44.3 percent).

“Internists have the expertise necessary to make an accurate diagnosis, propose a patient-centered management plan, partner with patients and their caregivers, and coordinate interprofessional team care across our complex health care system,” Dr. Chick said. “Expansion of the internal medicine workforce is necessary to ensure access to specialty and subspecialty medical care for future patients, but to expand our general medicine specialist workforce we must also put patient care before paperwork, reduce administrative burdens for primary care physicians, and address inequities in care compensation models.”

The number of positions offered in internal medicine-pediatrics in 2019 (390) has been relatively unchanged since 2015 (380), with 98.2 percent of those positions filled, 80.8 percent by U.S. medical school seniors.

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 154,000 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.