FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2015
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AUSTIN, TX — Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa of McAllen, Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, and Senator Kel Seliger of Amarillo filed Senate Bill 18 late yesterday, legislation that will strengthen the foundation of Texas' physician workforce by aligning state funding for graduate medical education with the state's need for more primary care physicians.
SB 18 contains a set of initiatives designed to address our state's medical workforce needs by expanding graduate medical education (GME) and by establishing a permanent endowment to support GME today and in the future.
Senator Hinojosa released the following statement:
"We need to strengthen and grow our state's primary care infrastructure and ensure access to primary care for our growing population. We have a severe shortage of physicians, especially in rural areas and along the border. The best way to increase the number of primary care physicians in our communities is to recruit and train them right here in Texas.
80 percent of doctors who attend medical school and complete residency training in Texas remain in the state to practice medicine. SB 18 will allow more opportunities for residency slots with state funding invested into these programs and training. Specifically in the Rio Grande Valley with the opening of the new medical school in 2016, it is critical that there are residency slots for our future doctors to be educated in the Valley, trained in the Valley, and stay and practice medicine in the Valley. I am proud to joint-author this legislation that will improve access to quality care for our Texas families."
SB 18 priorities would:
- Create new medical residency training positions, with a focus on rural and underserved areas to help address our shortage of physicians.
- Expand Family Care Residency Programs and restore Primary Care Residency Programs to increase the number of family and primary care doctors in the state.
- Ensure proper training so we have qualified faculty to teach residents.
- Bring together established residency programs with new and developing residency programs so the established programs can mentor the new programs.
SB 18 creates an endowment of $300 million to continue supporting graduate medical education. These funds will come from the dissolution of the Texas Medical Liability Joint Underwriting Association, as recommended in a report released by the Legislative Budget Board. http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/GEER/Government_Effectiveness_and_Efficiency_Report_2015.pdf