Rep. Torres Small Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Address Rural Doctor Shortages

March 22, 2019
Press Release

Las Cruces, NM – Last week, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small introduced The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019, H.R. 1763, along with her colleagues Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-7), John Katko (NY-24), and Rodney Davis (IL-13). This bipartisan legislation would take critical steps towards reducing nationwide physician shortages, with an emphasis in rural areas, by increasing the number of Medicare-supported residency positions by 15,000 positions.

“An expecting mother shouldn’t have to drive for hours and across state lines for every single prenatal appointment. Veterans shouldn’t have to get on a bus in the middle of the night to get to a doctor’s appointment in Albuquerque the next day. These are the obstacles that our rural communities face when trying to access basic healthcare needs,” said Torres Small.

“H.R. 1763 will significantly increase training programs for rural physicians and take the first steps towards expanding rural healthcare access and incentivizing medical students to serve our rural communities.”

This legislation is also supported by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). Their letter of support is available here.

For the past two decades, an artificial cap on the number of residents funded by Medicare – which is the primary source of payment for residents – has limited the expansion of training programs and the number of trainees. If passed, this legislation would support an additional 3,000 positions each year for the next five years, for a total of 15,000 residency positions, with priority going to hospitals or approved medical residency training programs with an integrated rural track.

It also directs the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on strategies for increasing the diversity of healthcare professionals, especially those from rural, lower income, and underrepresented minority communities.

For more information on The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019, H.R. 1763, click here.