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Senator Collins Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Bill to Address Critical Doctor Shortage in Maine

Washington, D.C. – In order to address the shortage of medical professionals in Maine and across the United States, which has been underscored most recently by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) co-sponsored theRural Physician Workforce Production Act to attract more doctors to rural areas.


“This legislation would extend an important program to address the shortage of primary care doctors, which has been exacerbated in rural and underserved communities by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Collins. “I urge all of my colleagues to support this important legislation to help train the next generation of physicians and ensure all Americans have access to quality health services.”


One of the greatest indicators of where a doctor will practice is the location of their residency, but some rural hospitals cannot afford to take on new residents, despite the need for more physicians. The Rural Physician Workforce Production Act addresses the geographic misdistribution of physicians across the U.S. stemming from the current structure of Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME). The bill lifts the current caps on Medicare reimbursement payments to rural hospitals that cover the cost of taking on residents, eliminating the serious disadvantage that rural hospitals face when recruiting new medical professionals.


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


The Rural Physician Workforce Production Act is supported by the Council of Academic Family Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Rural Health Association, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.


In addition to Senator Collins, the legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Boozman (R-AR), and Shelley Capito (R-WV).


Click HERE to read the bill text.



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