Rosen, Wicker Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address Physician Shortage in Rural Areas

Rosen Recently Introduced Another Bipartisan Bill to Tackle the Physician Shortage  

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the bipartisan Specialty Physicians Advancing Rural Care (SPARC) Act with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to help address the shortage of physicians in rural communities by creating a student loan repayment program for specialist physicians practicing in rural areas. 

“Nevada is facing a dire doctor shortage with all 17 of our counties being designated as physician shortage areas – and this is impacting rural counties the most,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m introducing this bipartisan legislation because we need to do more to incentivize specialty physicians and other specialized medical professionals to work in rural areas and underserved communities.” 

“Rural communities have a chronic shortage of specialty providers, and Congress should do what it can to address the problem,” said Senator Wicker. “The SPARC Act would move the ball forward by offering much-needed student loan relief for physicians and other medical professionals who serve in rural areas.”

“The SPARC Act takes the steps necessary to incentivize specialty physicians to serve in rural America, where many Americans lack access to close and readily available specialty care when necessary,” said Dr. Eugene Rhee, Public Policy Chair of the American Urological Association.

“Specialty care comes with specific costs that make it difficult for providers to choose to practice within underserved settings,” said Dr. David Khan, President of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “As providers enter the workforce, they face legitimate concerns over their ability to pay off existing student debt from medical school. This debt often leads them away from choosing subspecialties or practicing in rural and underserved areas. By investing in the repayment of these student loans, the federal government will help ensure access to specialty care in more areas across the country.”

“Ensuring the pipeline of specialty physicians for our aging population is critical especially in rural areas of our country,”  said Dr. John M. Inadomi, President of the American Gastroenterological Association. “The Specialty Physicians Advancing Rural Care will provide much needed incentives for medical students to practice in rural areas where some patients have little to no access to specialty care.” 

“Rheumatologists treat complex, chronic conditions that require lifetime care and often in-office treatments of their diseases,” said Dr. Elizabeth Solow, Government Affairs Committee Chair of American College of Rheumatology. “Patients often travel hours or wait months to access the specialists who can effectively manage their symptoms and stave off disease progression and possible disability or premature death. The SPARC Act would increase access to these specialists and help the 91 million Americans living with rheumatic disease receive the specialized care they need.”