Title of Proposal:

Incentivize physicians to practice in underserved areas

On behalf of:

The Richmond Academy of Medicine

Describe the Idea or Issue:

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.

Desired Outcome:

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.

Background/Supporting Information:

• Financial Incentives for practicing in underserved areas Background information can be found on pages 68-70 of appendix


We have had programs like this in the past through the AHEC.  Whatever gets developed needs to be SIMPLE and long term.  It would also help if Medicaid and Medicare paid MORE in rural and underserved areas instead of less.

Having had the opportunity to volunteer in Southwest Virginia, I have seen first hand the lack of access to healthcare not only because of lack of insurance but the lack of providers. Obviously it is difficult to attract providers to rural and underserved areas. I believe as physicians we need to encourage State,local and Federal entities to develop incentive programs to encourage providers to settle in underserved areas.

I fear we must be much more aggressive in giving away MONEY. "Incentives" ain't doin' it. Don't give low-interest loans - forgive loans altogether after x number of years of rural practice. Subsidize office overhead and employee costs. Especially, target folks who are FROM these areas to begin with - it seems that if we can get them to GO back, there's a better chance they'll STAY back

AGREE! Current graduates are accumulating crushing amounts of debt at ridiculous interest rates. Loan forgiveness is the key to attracting physicians.

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