Congressman Sarbanes Introduces Bill to Combat America's Primary Care Physician Shortage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today introduced the Primary Care Physician Reentry Act, which aims to help ameliorate the nation’s primary care physician shortage by providing training and financial assistance to doctors returning to medical practice in exchange for their service as a public health provider.
This legislation would establish a grant program for medical schools, hospitals and non-profit organizations to create or expand their physician reentry programs which give physicians a streamlined process for credentialing and continuing medical education to return to medical practice after an absence. Funding could also be used to assist with credentialing fees, loan repayments and salaries. In return for this assistance, these physicians would serve at community health centers, VA medical centers or school-based health centers to help fill the shortage of primary care doctors. Participating physicians would be able to practice on a full- or part-time basis and would be covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which provides physicians with medical liability protection.
“This bill will encourage qualified, well-trained physicians to help fill the primary care physician gap in our nation’s health care system,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “It will also offer mid-career physicians who took time out of the workforce to raise or care for their families, and retired or retiring physicians who want to serve their local communities, an opportunity to continue practicing medicine.”
This legislation is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the American Osteopathic Association and the School-Based Health Alliance.
“Today, educational programs for reentering physicians are too few, too geographically dispersed and too expensive for many physicians interested in continuing their medical practice,” said James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which collaborates along with 20 other medical organizations on the Physician Reentry Into the Workforce Project. “The Primary Care Physician Reentry Act can help create accessible reentry opportunities that better enable physicians to return to clinical practice, making important progress towards combating America’s shortage of primary care physicians.”
To learn more about physician reentry, visit: http://physician-reentry.org/.