H.R. 8850, the Fair Access In Residency Act (FAIR Act), was introduced on September 15 to ensure all Medicare-funded residency programs accept DOs and the COMLEX.
The legislation addresses the unfair and unsustainable system that excludes DOs from residencies or requires them to take the USMLE. These practices exacerbate the workforce shortage and impinge on healthcare access by limiting the availability of licensed DO physicians.
According to National Resident Matching Program data, 32% of residency program directors never or seldom interview DO candidates, and of those that do, at least 56% require the USMLE for DO applicants to be considered. The demands of medical school are exhausting and DO students shouldn’t be subjected to the emotional and financial strain of a second exam, which is in excess of physician licensure requirements.
The FAIR Act (H.R. 8850) will help ease the physician shortage, support equitable treatment of osteopathic medical students and increase access to high-quality, patient-centered healthcare in rural and underserved areas.