Rural Arizonans face challenges accessing that care, including getting routine check-ups or seeing a specialist, and the problem has been getting worse year after year.

We’ve written several blogs about the policy interventions that would help improve access to care such as building more residency programs in rural Arizona – especially those in primary care and family medicine. Ideal locations for those are at the many Federally Qualified Health Centers in AZ in association with their local hospitals.

What’s the Solution to AZ’s Doctor Shortage? More Medical Students or More Residencies?
NAU’s New Medical School Plan is Right on the Money

But providing financial incentives remains a key…  and has yet to be addressed. A shovel ready bill is sitting in the hopper in Congress called the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act of 2023. The Act lifts the current cap on Medicare reimbursement payments to rural hospitals that cover the cost of taking on residents, helping to alleviate the serious disadvantage that rural hospitals face when recruiting new medical professionals.

The bill would also allow Medicare to reimburse urban hospitals that send residents to train at rural health care facilities during a resident rotation and establish a per resident payment initiative to ensure rural hospitals have the resources to bring on additional residents.

Last week Representative Ruben Gallego announced his support for the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act of 2023. Let’s hope thew rest of Arizona’s delegation gets on board too!