Incentivize physicians to practice in underserved areas
The Richmond Academy of Medicine
Approximately one-fifth of the nation’s population lives in a rural area but only about 10 percent of the nation’s physicians are located there. This is considered to be one reason rural Americans have higher rates of death, disability and chronic disease than their urban counterparts. Rural communities often face challenges in maintaining an adequate health workforce, making it difficult to provide needed patient care or to meet staffing requirements for their facilities. Declining interest in primary care by medical students, a large number of rural primary care practitioners nearing retirement age and an increased demand for practitioners because of the aging baby-boomer generation all contribute to the primary care practitioner shortage in rural America.
Much of the responsibility to combat these challenges falls on the states to find new ways to fill existing and future gaps in the health care delivery system.
The Richmond Academy of Medicine asks the Medical Society of Virginia to support a line-item in the Commonwealth’s Budget that will offer matching grants with localities to create incentives to practice in rural communities. RAM would like MSV to work with local and federal agencies to find funding for incentives which may include housing and office set up and maintenance expenses. Furthermore, RAM would like for MSV to support the creation of and funding for a low interest loan-repayment program that uses interest-rate incentives for practicing in high-need specialties and in underserved communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia which would be open to any student enrolled at a Virginia Medical School. Finally, RAM would like MSV to support funding for the Commonwealth’s current loan repayment program as further incentive to practice in underserved areas.
• Financial Incentives for practicing in underserved areas Background information can be found on pages 68-70 of appendix