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Monday, June 22, 2009

TMA TO TACKLE NEW WAYS TO BRING PHYSICIANS TO UNDERSERVED RURAL AREAS

The bill Governor Perry vetoed was intended to attract new physicians to underserved rural areas of Texas by allowing government-owned hospitals in counties with fewer than 50,000 residents to hire physicians directly. TMA is committed to helping solve rural Texas’ health care problems without jeopardizing our liability reforms. In coming months, we will work with rural physicians and hospitals to forge some solid solutions. “We will continue to work with state leaders to craft a consensus plan for the 2011 legislative session that more effectively addresses the problem of underserved areas and protects patient care and access,” Dr. Fleming said. The governor made an excellent start by signing House Bill 2154, which helps underserved counties attract new physicians by significantly strengthening the Texas Physician Loan Repayment Program. The new budget the legislature approved increases graduate medical education (GME) funding for the next biennium from $5,634 to $6,653 per year per residency slot. It also gave a 21.5-percent hike to the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Family Practice Residency Program.

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