WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), joined Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) this week in introducing the Medical Student Education Authorization Act. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize and expand the Medical Student Education (MSE) Program for five years, ensuring that Nevada is eligible for funding to help reduce its physician shortage.
This existing program provides grants to public institutions of higher education to expand or support graduate education for physicians in states with the most severe primary care provider shortages, fostering the next generation of trained medical professionals in places where doctors and other providers are needed most. While under the program’s current funding criteria, Nevada is not eligible for support, this new legislation would amend the formula to support a number of new states, including Nevada. The bill would also provide guaranteed funding to the program for the first time ever. The MSE Program is currently subject to annual authorizations, which has resulted in significant uncertainty over funding and long-term planning for funded institutions.
Identical legislation has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), and Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).
“Communities across Nevada and our country are in dire need of more health care professionals, and Congress must act to fill these gaps and ensure access to quality medical care,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the Medical Student Education program for another five years, and expand it to address the physician shortage in states like Nevada by supporting the next generation of medical professionals.”
“Doctors play a critical role in the health and well-being of Oklahomans and individuals across the nation—as evidenced ten-fold by this pandemic,” said Senator Inhofe. “I have always been an advocate for retaining the talent of the next generation of medical students in our state, which is why I am pleased to introduce the Medical Student Education Authorization Act alongside Rep. Cole. This bill will support medical student training in Tribal, rural, and medically underserved communities, helping guarantee sufficient doctors in these areas for years to come and ensuring all Oklahomans can continue to have access to high-quality health care.”
“The AHA commends Representatives Cole, Mullin and Titus and Senators Inhofe and Rosen for introducing this important bipartisan legislation to help increase the number of physicians across the country, especially in areas with the most severe provider shortages,” said Stacey Hughes, Executive Vice President of the American Hospital Association. “Having a talented, qualified, engaged, and diverse workforce is at the heart of America’s health care system but many physicians and other health care professionals are exhausted from two years of being on the front lines battling COVID-19. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this critical legislation that will continue to help build the physician workforce pipeline, especially in medically underserved communities.”
“National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds Representatives Cole, Titus, and Mullin and Senators Inhofe and Rosen for introducing the Medical Student Education Authorization Act,” said Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Association. “Since the Medical Student Education (MSE) Program was first authorized in 2019, it has made a profound impact on training physicians in rural communities. We know that physician’s training experiences in rural communities result in higher practices rates in rural areas. Passing a five-year authorization of the MSE Program, as this legislation does, will be helpful for stabilizing the depleting workforce in rural communities. As rural communities rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening the workforce is a top priority for NRHA. Programs like the MSE Program are critical to ensuring rural communities have the workforce they need to provide services for their residents.”
“Nevada desperately needs primary care physicians. We rank 48th nationally and 67% of the state’s population resides in a primary care health professional shortage area,” said Melissa Piasecki, M.D., Acting Dean University of the Nevada, Reno School of Medicine & Chief Academic Officer of Renown Health. “This grant program, if expanded, will allow UNR Med to use proven strategies to recruit and retain Nevada medical students to serve the rural and underserved communities in our state.”