L.D. 503 Testimony MMA




Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development
Room 208, Cross State Office Building, Augusta, Maine
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 1:00 p.m.

Good afternoon Senator Volk, Representative Fecteau, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, & Economic Development.  My name is Gordon H. Smith and I serve as Executive Vice President of the Maine Medical Association.  I am pleased to offer testimony in support of L.D. 503, An Act to Continue the Doctors for Maine’s Future Scholarship Program.

The Maine Medical Association (MMA) is a professional organization representing more than 4000 physicians, residents, and medical students in Maine whose mission is to support Maine physicians, advance the quality of medicine in Maine, and promote the health of all Maine citizens.

The MMA enthusiastically supports this initiative by Senator Katz, Representative Hymanson, and the co-sponsors of L.D. 503 and applauds the work of Dr. Peter Bates and his colleagues at the Maine Medical Center and the Tufts University School of Medicine, Maine Track Program to address Maine’s health workforce shortage.  Maine’s health workforce shortage, and physician shortage in particular, have been exacerbated by the lack of a public medical school as part of its state university system.  For many years, the MMA has been part of a group of public and private entities working collaboratively to ensure that talented Maine students have an opportunity to pursue a medical education and then build careers serving the people of Maine.  Initially, Maine accomplished the goal of ensuring a medical education for some Maine students through an interstate compact subsidizing access to several medical schools in New England for Maine students.  In 2009, the 124th Maine Legislature made a substantial investment in medical education for Maine students with the establishment of the Doctors for Maine’s Future Program.  Passage of L.D. 503 would represent another significant investment in medical education in our state.

As examples of MMA members’ concern about Maine’s health workforce shortage and for ensuring opportunities for Maine students to pursue a medical education, I have attached Resolution #3, To Encourage Maine Students to Pursue Careers in Medicine, adopted at the MMA’s 2006 Annual Session and Resolution #1, Maine Medical Student Education adopted at the MMA’s 2007 Annual Session.  MMA members adopted the latter in anticipation of legislation creating the Doctors for Maine’s Future Program.

Lastly, I would like to mention the MMA’s long-standing contribution to medical education for Maine students.  The MMA’s IRC §501(c)(3) affiliate, the Maine Medical Education Foundation, makes low interest loans to medical students from Maine or with a substantial connection to Maine with the hope that they will spend their medical careers serving the people of Maine.  Since its inception, this Foundation has loaned more than $5 million in support of medical education in our state.

Thank you for considering MMA’s testimony in support of L.D. 503.