Dear AAPS Members and Friends,
Texas patients’ access to primary care continues to worsen. In 2019, 129 of Texas’s 254 counties identified as a shortage area for primary care, and as of July 2021, that number increased by 99 counties to 228.
Nationwide, the physician shortage is exacerbated by a deficit of residency program slots for medical graduates. Currently, approximately 8,000 applicants per year to U.S. residency programs fail to obtain a match after graduating from medical school.
A complete resolution to these problems means tackling a number of flawed federal policies, but in the meantime there are important state-based solutions that can be implemented to help.
One innovative proposal, HB 2556, has been introduced in Texas by Representative Tom Oliverson, MD. This bill would allow unmatched medical school graduates — with a degree of MD or DO and who meet a few other criteria — to train and practice in primary care settings in the state, under the supervision of, and in collaboration with, licensed Texas physicians. Several other states, including Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas, Utah, and Kansas, have already implemented similar programs successfully enhancing patient care .
TAKE ACTION: HB 2556 is on the agenda for the meeting of the Texas House Select Committee on Health Care Reform on March 23, 2023. You can send committee members a messages asking them to support the bill with just a couple clicks, using the following link:https://p2a.co/v4l1DgX
If you have additional time, and a personal story to tell related to this topic, Texas residents can also submit a comment to the committee for consideration using the following portal: https://comments.house.texas.gov/home?c=c307
If this proposal passes, not only will these unmatched medical school graduates have an opportunity continue their post graduate training, but Texas patients will gain expanded high-quality care options.
By the time medical school students graduate, they generally have more than twice as much clinical experience as new nurse practitioner graduates who are able to practice under supervision in the state. So allowing qualified MD and DO medical graduates the ability to have limited supervised practice opportunities is a common sense step Texas can and should take as soon as possible.
Thank you for speaking out! ~AAPS
Additional Research on this issue from the Texas Public Policy Foundation:
Using Unmatched Medical Graduates to Improve Access to Care in Texas: