Congress Mulls Primary Care Doc 'Re-entry' Plan Bill

John Commins, September 24, 2014

A bill introduced by Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-MD) would address the nation's primary care physician shortage by funding pilot programs for mid-career, retired, and retiring physicians to continue practicing medicine.

There's a bill floating around in Congress that addresses the nation's primary care physician shortage.



Rep. John P. Sarbanes, (D-MD)

It's called the Primary Care Physician Reentry Act. It's sponsored by Rep. John P. Sarbanes, (D-MD), and there's plenty to like about it.

Essentially, the bill would address the nation's primary care physician shortage by funding pilot programs at medical schools, hospitals, and non-profit providers across the country. These demonstration programs would provide training, financial assistance, and streamlined reaccreditation processes for physicians wishing to re-enter the workforce.

In exchange, physicians who complete the re-entry program agree to provide primary care either full- or part-time for at least two years at community health centers, VA medical centers or school-based health centers.

What works in this legislation is the relatively light touch of the federal government. The bill addresses the need, identifies the objective, creates loose parameters, and provides funding. Providers are given leeway to design programs that they believe will be most effective.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the American Osteopathic Association and the School-Based Health Alliance have provided endorsements.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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