Senate approves Uresti bill creating resident physician program
AUSTIN — The Texas Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill by Sen. Carlos Uresti that will make medical care more available in rural areas across the state.
Senate Bill 2077, sent to the House on a 30-0 vote, will establish resident physician training programs in medically underserved communities. The resident physicians would provide a wide range of medical services that are not currently available to many Texans.
According to the Department of State Health Services, there were 26 counties in Texas that had no primary care physicians in 2008.
"This program will help bring medical care to some 5 million Texans who live in areas where doctors are difficult or impossible to find," Uresti said. "Doctors often establish their practice in the same area they complete their residency, so this program could provide a permanent solution to the shortage of qualified physicians in our rural communities."
Under the bill, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board could contract with a medical school, licensed hospital or nonprofit corporation to establish and operate a physician shortage residency training program. Each program would be funded based on the number of participating resident physicians.
The program would be paid for by excess funds from the Medical Licensing Board. The bill would not take effect until the amount of excess funds reaches $3 million.
Carlos Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19 representing over 750,000 residents throughout a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts and spans two time zones.