Torres Small Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Address Rural Doctor Shortages

March 22, 2019 by Dan McCue

Last week, Representative Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M., introduced The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (H.R. 1763), which she and her bipartisan cosponsors say will take definitive steps toward reducing nationwide physician shortages, with an emphasis in rural areas.

The bill introduced by Torres Small, fellow Democrat Representative Terri Sewell, of Alabama, and Republican Representatives John Katko, of New York, and Rodney Davis, of Illinois on March 14 increases the number of Medicare-supported residency positions by 15,000.

“An expecting mother shouldn’t have to drive for hours and across state lines for every single prenatal appointment,” Torres Small said in announcing the bill. “Veterans shouldn’t have to get on a bus in the middle of the night to get to a doctor’s appointment in Albuquerque the next day. These are the obstacles that our rural communities face when trying to access basic healthcare needs.

“H.R. 1763 will significantly increase training programs for rural physicians and take the first steps towards expanding rural healthcare access and incentivizing medical students to serve our rural communities,” Torres Small said.

For the past two decades, an artificial cap on the number of residents funded by Medicare – which is the primary source of payment for residents – has limited the expansion of training programs and the number of trainees.

If passed, this legislation would support an additional 3,000 positions each year for the next five years, for a total of 15,000 residency positions, with priority going to hospitals or approved medical residency training programs with an integrated rural track.

It also directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on strategies for increasing the diversity of healthcare professionals, especially those from rural, lower income, and underrepresented minority communities.

Among those that have already thrown their support behind the legislation is the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, which represents 35 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in 32 states.

In a letter to the bill sponsors, the association called their effort “timely” and lauded them for giving “priority to hospitals in states with new medical schools and emphasize training in community-based settings.

“The bill’s additional GAO requirement to conduct a study on strategies for increasing health professional workforce diversity is critical to encourage greater connections and services between traditionally underserved communities and the emerging physician workforce,” the association said.

It went on to say that because the bill ensures additional residency slots are made available to new medical school graduates to pursue their post-graduate training and become licensed practicing physicians, it will result in expanded access to patient care, particularly in the rural and underserved areas that historically face chronic primary care shortages.”

The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Health

Brindisi Bill Would Require VA Women Veteran Call Center to Be Text Accessible Veterans
Brindisi Bill Would Require VA Women Veteran Call Center to Be Text Accessible
September 17, 2019
by Sean Trambley

Freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a member of the bipartisan Women Veterans Task Force, has introduced legislation to mandate accessibility for women at the VA’s healthcare call center. Brindisi’s legislation, H.R. 2972, would statutorily require the Veterans Affairs Women Veterans Call Center be accessible via text and... Read More

Groupons for Medical Treatment? Welcome to Today’s US Health Care Health
Groupons for Medical Treatment? Welcome to Today’s US Health Care

Emory University medical fellow Dr. Nicole Herbst was shocked when she saw three patients who came in with abnormal results from chest CT scans they had bought on Groupon. Yes, Groupon — the online coupon mecca that also sells discounted fitness classes and foosball tables. “Saw... Read More

Coming Out About Mental Health on Social Media Mental Health
Coming Out About Mental Health on Social Media

Susanna Harris was sitting in her lab class for her graduate program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she received an email that told her she had failed what she describes as “the most important exam in grad school,” the doctoral qualifying... Read More

List of Military Installations Dealing With PFAS Chemical Contamination Expected to Grow Military
List of Military Installations Dealing With PFAS Chemical Contamination Expected to Grow
September 17, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The number of U.S. military installations contaminated with potentially cancer-causing chemical compounds found in firefighting foam is expected to rise as a Defense Department task force continues to assess the problem, the Pentagon said last week. During a roundtable with reporters, Assistant Secretary of... Read More

NY’s Cuomo Announces Ban On Most E-Cigarette Flavors State News
NY’s Cuomo Announces Ban On Most E-Cigarette Flavors

NEW YORK — Amid growing reports of vaping-related illnesses and even deaths, Gov. Cuomo on Sunday announced an emergency ban on all e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco and menthol. “Vaping is dangerous, period,” Cuomo said. “It is addicting young people to nicotine at a very early... Read More

The Collapse of a Hospital Empire — and Towns Left in the Wreckage Health
The Collapse of a Hospital Empire — and Towns Left in the Wreckage

SWEET SPRINGS, Mo. — The money was so good in the beginning, and it seemed it might gush forever, right through tiny country hospitals in Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and into the coffers of companies controlled by Jorge A. Perez, his family and business partners. It was... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top