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Feb 1, 2019

Addressing Doctor Shortage in Montana is Aim of Tester’s Bipartisan Bills

Legislation Will Build Pipeline from Medical Schools to Rural Areas

(U.S. Senate)—To address the growing doctor shortage in Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester introduced multiple bipartisan bills to bring more medical professionals to rural areas.

One of the greatest indicators of where a doctor will practice is the location of their residency. Tester’s bills, the Rural Physician Workforce Production Act and the Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act, will eliminate red tape to allow rural hospitals to strengthen partnerships with medical schools and bolster the use of the successful Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program to increase the number of residents serving Montana.

“The doctor shortage in rural America threatens the future of frontier communities in Montana,” Tester said. “If we want more doctors to practice in rural areas, we need to train them in rural areas—and these bills will help build a stronger pipeline of medical residents from universities to our rural hospitals.”

Tester’s Rural Physician Workforce Production Act lifts the current caps on Medicare reimbursement payments to rural hospitals that cover the cost of taking on residents. This change will eliminate the serious disadvantage that rural hospitals face when recruiting residents. 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.

Tester’s Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act reauthorizes the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program and provides $647.5 million over five years to support residency programs in rural areas like Montana. The bill will also provide an additional $60 million to help existing Teacher Health Centers to expand primary care, dental, and psychiatric services and meet the growing need for care.

There are dozens of Critical Access Hospitals that serve rural communities across Montana.

In his message to Montanans at the start of the 116th Congress, Tester vowed to work with both parties to strengthen rural hospitals and clinics and to lower the cost of health care.

Tester’s Rural Physician Workforce Production Act is cosponsored by Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and his Training the Next Generation of Primary Care Doctors Act is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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