Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

WASHINGTON — Sen. Maggie Hassan introduced a bill Tuesday that could fund 25 new residency positions in New Hampshire — and up to 1,000 across the country.

The residency positions would help train more doctors in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry and pain management, in an effort to help more people with substance use disorders, and to stop more people from getting hooked on pain pills.

“As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” Hassan said in a statement.

After would-be doctors finish medical school, they often have to complete a “residency,” working under the supervision of an experienced doctor. The federal government pays hospitals to run residency programs with Medicare funds — nearly all residency positions are funded this way.

The new bill proposes funding 1,000 more residency positions at teaching hospitals across the country for each of the next five years. Each hospital could get up to 25 additional residents.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is New Hampshire’s only teaching hospital. In a statement, Joanne M. Conroy, the hospital system’s CEO and president said in a statement that she supported the effort.

“This legislation will provide critical resources to bolster our work in training the next generation of front line health care providers,” she said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is also sponsoring the bill, which is a companion to a bill introduced in the House earlier this year. Reps. Ann Kuster and Chris Pappas of New Hampshire are co-sponsors of the House bill.

Thursday, January 16, 2020