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Titus, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Address Primary Care Provider Shortages

Titus: "We need a whole-of-government approach to address the physician shortages plaguing communities here in Nevada and across the country."

Washington, DC – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) and Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) reintroduced the bipartisan, bicameral Medical Student Education Authorization Act to help address primary care provider shortages by authorizing the Medical Student Education (MSE) Program through Fiscal Year 2025.

Currently Nevada is facing a physician shortage, ranking 48th nationally in shortages of primary care doctors. In states with the most severe primary care provider shortages, the MSE Program provides grants to public institutions of higher education to expand or support graduate education for physicians. The program is currently subject to annual authorizations, creating significant uncertainty over funding and long-term planning for funded institutions. This bill would remedy that. Senators Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

"We need a whole-of-government approach to address the physician shortages plaguing communities here in Nevada and across the country. By supporting medical student training in underserved areas, we can invest in the next generation of providers while improving care access and patient outcomes,” said Rep. Titus.

“It is well known that medical students and residents are likely to practice in communities similar to their own and to ones similar to where they were trained,” said Rep. Cole. “By offering medical training and education in rural, tribal and underserved communities and focusing on recruiting students from these areas, the Medical Student Education Program works to place providers in these communities long-term and ensure access to quality health care. One key indicator of the program’s current success in tribal communities is the fact that nearly half of medical students self-identifying as Native American are enrolled in a medical school participating in this program. I am thankful for my colleagues’ continued support on this critical legislation and look forward to working with them to move this bill across the finish line and bring relief to areas that face severe healthcare provider shortages.”

“The shortage of physicians in Nevada continues to impact our communities and threatens our communities’ access to quality medical care,” said Sen. Rosen. “I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to incentivize the next generation of doctors to come learn at one of our medical schools and then stay in Nevada to practice. This will help increase the number of doctors in states like ours and expand access to quality medical care."

"Many Oklahomans have to travel long distances to see their primary care provider at small, rural hospitals or IHS and Tribal-run facilities," said Sen. Mullin. “Over the past few years, our communities have faced a growing physician shortage that is making it more difficult for rural, Tribal, and underserved areas to receive proper care. Our bipartisan bill will authorize the MSE Program to support graduate education for physicians in states like Oklahoma to ensure rural Americans receive the care they need. I’m grateful to Rep. Cole, Rep. Titus, and Sen. Rosen for their partnership in reintroducing the Medical Student Education Authorization Act.”

"This legislation would benefit Tribal health programs by increasing the number of Indian health providers and providing training to better serve American Indian and Alaska Native patients. This bill provides grants to higher education institutions in states with severe health care provider shortages. The emphasis on partnerships between these institutions and Tribal nations, integrating behavioral health into primary care, and addressing health equities will complement Tribal nations' efforts to enhance their health care delivery systems. We call upon Congress to pass this legislation and get it signed into law this year," said Chairman of the National Indian Health Board, William Smith.

“There is an urgent need for more physicians to serve in rural America to help address patient access issues and improve health care outcomes. The American Medical Association is dedicated to addressing the root causes of health inequities for the rural patient population, and this bill would help remove challenges to health equity in tribal, rural, and medically underserved communities,” said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., M.D. “We commend the sponsors of this bipartisan bill and look forward to supporting it as it moves through the legislative process.”

"Since the Medical Student Education (MSE) Program was first authorized in 2019, it has made a profound impact on training physicians in rural communities. We know that physician's training experiences in rural communities result in higher practices rates in rural areas. Passing a five-year authorization of the MSE Program, as this legislation does, will be helpful for stabilizing the depleting workforce in rural communities. Strengthening the workforce is a top priority for NRHA. Programs like the MSE Program are critical to ensuring rural communities have the workforce they need to provide services for their residents," said Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Association.