CMS eliminates aspects of proposed rule that would
have effectively eliminated the GME program retroactively!
Program will end in 2006.
was a close call, but sometimes right does triumph over might. In response
to two and a half months of aggressive lobbying by dental educators, students,
faculty, staff, organized dentistry, and political allies, the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) eliminated a proposed rule that would
have effectively nullified the dental Graduate Medical Education (GME) program,
a tool used by the federal government to subsidize medical education so
that residents can be paid a small stipend and usually also get free tuition
and health benefits.
While success was achieved at the national level by several key lobbying
groups brilliantly orchestrated by the American Dental Education Association
(ADEA), NYUCD played a significant role through its amazing letter-writing
campaign. Indeed, when Dean Alfano was selected by ADEA to meet with CMS
officials in Maryland to argue our case, a young CMS attorney begged him
to stop the huge influx of letters from NYU, which was overwhelming the
Had the ruling stood, it would have removed millions of dollars in federal
GME funds from 40 dental schools retroactively! The consequences for NYUCD
would have included a drastic reduction in the number of available residency
slots, cuts in programs and services for both students and patients, budget
deficits, and large layoffs.
Ultimately, CMS agreed to eliminate the retroactive aspects of the
proposed rule and to honor commitments to dental residents who entered
residency programs on or before October 1, 2003, through the end of
their residencies or for three years, whichever comes first. As a
result, budget deficits at NYUCD were eliminated and disastrous consequences
avoided. However, in October 2006, the GME program will formally end,
and the intent of Congress in establishing dental GME through the
Balanced Budget Act of 1997 — to encourage and support the expansion
of dental residency training programs in nonhospital locations —
will be voided.