The Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) was authorized by Congress to provide an ongoing assessment of physician workforce trends, training issues and financing policies, and to recommend appropriate federal and private sector efforts to address identified needs. The legislation calls for COGME to advise and make recommendations to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The legislation provides that the Council shall be composed of 17 members. Fourteen of these members are appointed by the Secretary of HHS and include representatives of practicing primary care physicians, national and specialty physician organizations, international medical graduates, medical student and house staff associations, schools of medicine and osteopathy, public and private teaching hospitals, health insurers, business, and labor. Federal representatives on the Council include the Assistant Secretary for Health, HHS; the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS; and the Chief Medical Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Council on Graduate Medical Education is governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Public Law 92-463 §1 (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), as amended, which sets forth the standards for the formation and use of advisory committees. The Council was originally authorized in 1986 for ten years and has successively been extended through various legislative enactments. The Health Professions Education Partnerships Act of 1998 redesignated the authority for the Council as section 762 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. §294o). That authorization for the Council expired in 2002. Since then, the Council has been extended through successive annual appropriations governing the Department of Health and Human Services.
The charge to COGME is broader than the name would imply. Title VII of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, requires COGME to provide advice and recommendations to the HHS Secretary and Congress on the following issues:
In addition, the legislation calls for the Council to encourage entities providing GME to conduct activities to voluntarily achieve the recommendations of the Council specified in item 5, above. The Council must also develop and publish performance measures and longitudinal evaluations for programs under its charge, as well as recommend appropriation levels for these programs.