P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2012
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, filed SB 143 today addressing the critical shortage of primary care physicians in Texas. This is the 25th piece of legislation Senator Nelson has filed since pre-filing began for the upcoming session.
"Primary care serves as the gateway to preventive care, specialty providers and a wide range of services. A strong primary care workforce results in higher quality, more efficient health care with better patient outcomes at a lower cost," said Senator Nelson. "This legislation will address Texas' growing need for primary care, encourage physicians to accept Medicaid patients and strengthen the provider network for women's health."
Currently, approximately 18,000 primary care physicians serve about 25 million Texans. SB 143:
- Establishes the Primary Care Graduate Medical Education Expansion Program with the goal of increasing residency slots for primary care;
- Establishes incentives for medical schools to improve graduation rates and develop innovative programs to increase the supply of primary care physicians, and;
- Allows physicians who agree to treat Medicaid or Texas Women's Health Program patients to participate in the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program.
Senator Nelson has stated she will work to prioritize funding for graduate medical education as a member of the Senate Finance Committee. 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.