ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) is calling on Congress to address a doctor shortage in Chemung County and across the Southern Tier.
Sen. Schumer visited the Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira Tuesday afternoon to launch the effort. He wants his colleagues to pass the "Physician Shortage Act of 2017."
The bill would add 15,000 more Medicare-supported residency training slots for doctors. This ensures teaching hospitals can train enough physicians to meet growing demands.
The announcement comes as medical students around the country get closer to "Match Day," which is the day they learn where they will be for the next stage of their training.
Schumer also gave insight as to how the effort would be funded.
"We have in the budget, we have a whole bunch of what we call "pay-fors," which are ways that we can pay for it through different kinds of waste that we get rid of, through new kinds of sources of funding, and that's where we hope to find it. There is funding for this," Schumer says.
Schumer also briefly addressed the ongoing effort of bringing the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to the Elmira area.
Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli added that Schumer's proposed legislation would also increase the number of families interested in moving to the area, which would, in turn, have a positive impact on the local and regional economy.
Schumer said during the announcement, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is expected to face a shortage of up to 43,100 primary care physicians and 61,800 specialty physicians by 2030.