Tester Presses Senate Leadership to Renew Program Attracting Vital Heath Care Providers to Rural Communities
Senator in letter to Senate leadership: “Our teaching health centers need certainty”
In his continued efforts to improve access to health care in rural and frontier communities, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today sent a letter to Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell urging them to act swiftly to reauthorize the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program.
The THCGME program helps communities – particularly rural and frontier communities – build a reliable workforce by training professionals in community-based settings. Without the certainty of a multi-year reauthorization and the proposed funding increases, Teaching Health Centers and their residents and patients are left in the lurch.
“Our teaching health centers need certainty so they can train new providers to serve the rural communities that sorely need them,” Tester wrote to the Senate leaders. “Prompt Senate passage of THCGME reauthorization and finalization of the bill language with the House will help avoid disruption to the THCs and their residents and patients.”
The Senator continued, “Without Congress’ support, many of these [HHS THC] Planning and Development grantees will have to cancel their plans for training new physicians and dentists to serve their communities, losing significant investment.”
Tester requested Senate leadership act as soon as possible to pass a multi-year reauthorization.
As a third-generation farmer from a town of less than 600 people, Tester has been a consistent voice for bolstering rural health care access. He has successfully fought to lower drug prices through measures in his Inflation Reduction Act, and by closing a loophole in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that allowed Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to retroactively charge excessive fees. He also re-introduced his bipartisan Rural Physician Workforce Production Act with Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to incentivize young physicians to build their careers in rural hospitals, and ensure those facilities have the resources they need to recruit and retain doctors for the long haul.
Read the Senator’s full letter HERE.