Diana Harshbarger Introduces Bill Trying to Help Improve Health Care in Rural Areas

U.S. Representative Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) introduced the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act of 2022 on Thursday.

In a bipartisan move, Harshbarger teamed up with U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) to introduce H.R. 8508, which is described as a “bipartisan legislation that improves Medicare reimbursements and enhances the current structure of the Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) program to bring more medical residents and doctors to rural areas.”

“Having served as a pharmacist in East Tennessee for over 30 years, I understand the unique needs and challenges that face our rural communities. Rural regions struggle to recruit and retain physicians and other practitioners, resulting in a lack of access for patients and families,” said Harshbarger in her statement.

“My bill will help make rural residency programs more attractive and sustainable as well as strengthen our rural physician pipeline. This is a practical solution to encourage doctors and other health professionals to train in underserved rural regions and keep their lifesaving talents in the areas that need it most,” she added.

O’Halleran commented on the legislation as well.

“As the representative of one of the largest and most rural districts in the country, I’ve seen firsthand just how hard it can be for families to access basic health care, let alone specialist care,” he said.

“Studies have shown that doctors are more likely to stay and practice in areas where they studied. Our bipartisan bill is commonsense policy fix that will incentivize more medical residents to practice and live in rural areas, providing better access to care for hardworking Arizonans that must often travel hundreds of miles to receive the care they need,” O’Halleran added.

According to the press statement, The Rural Physician Workforce Production Act accomplishes three things.

The legislation reportedly “lifts the current caps on Medicare reimbursement payments to rural hospitals that cover the cost of taking on residents,” “allows Medicare to reimburse urban hospitals that send residents to train at rural health care facilities during a resident rotation,” and “establishes a per-resident payment initiative to ensure rural hospitals have the resources to bring on additional residents.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), Council of Academic Family Medicine, American Osteopathic Association, and American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), according to the release from Harshbarger’s office, have all endorsed the legislation.

– – –

Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTRTwitterTruth Social, and Parler.




Related posts

One Thought to “Diana Harshbarger Introduces Bill Trying to Help Improve Health Care in Rural Areas”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Sounds like more government spending to me.