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LEGISLATION INCREASING ACCESS TO PRIMARY CARE APPROVED
AUSTIN —The Senate Committee on Higher Education today unanimously approved SB 143 by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to enhance the physician workforce in Texas and expand access to primary care.
"As our population continues to grow - and more Texans come into the health care system - we have to address the critical shortages in our health care workforce," said Senator Nelson. "In order for our citizens to have access to care, we must ensure there is an adequate network of properly trained physicians available to treat them."
- Establishes the Resident Physician Expansion Grant Program to create new residency positions;
- Establishes the Graduate Medical Education Planning Grant Program to encourage the development of new residency programs in hospitals that have not had one before;
- Establishes an incentive program for medical schools that demonstrate an increase in the number of physicians that practice primary care;
- Establishes an incentive program for medical schools that develop innovative strategies to increase the state's supply of primary care physicians; and
- Allows physicians who treat Medicaid and Texas Women's Health Program patients to participate in the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program.
By 2016, at least 180 medical school graduates - whose education costs the state at least $168,000 per student - will have to leave the state for their first year of residency training due to a lack of residency positions, according to a 2012 report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.