WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced a package of bipartisan bills aimed at addressing the shortage of doctors and dentists in Nevada and across the country. Every county in Nevada is experiencing a shortage of medical professionals, and in 2021, Nevada was ranked 48th in the nation with regard to the availability of primary care physicians per 100,000 residents. This bipartisan legislative package contains bills that would increase Nevada’s access to medical residency slots and incentivize doctors to practice in underserved areas.
“Nevada is facing a dire shortage of medical providers, making it difficult for too many Nevadans to access quality health care services. With all 17 of our counties experiencing a physician shortage, Congress must take swift action to address this critical issue,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m introducing this bipartisan package of bills to help increase the number of physicians practicing in communities across Nevada and ensure that more Nevadans can get the care they need.”
“As University Medical Center continues to expand and introduce groundbreaking new services that require expertly trained medical professionals, we fully support Sen. Rosen’s proposed legislation to address the nationwide shortage of health care providers,” said Mason Van Houweling, CEO of the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada. “UMC has grown to become Nevada’s premier academic medical center, and these bills will support our mission to train the next generation of health care providers for our community.”
“The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine supports finding creative ways to encourage and incentivize medical students and residents to practice where they are needed most. Senator Rosen’s proposed legislative proposals will, if enacted, meaningfully impact the lack of physicians in Nevada and beyond,” said Dr. Paul Hauptman, Dean of the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine. “While the current shortage is particularly problematic for our rural communities, metropolitan areas are also seeing limits to access. A pause on student loan interest accrual, additional loan repayment opportunities in exchange for service, and reprioritization of available residency slots provide a much-needed and comprehensive approach.”
“Finding and keeping quality physicians in a rural setting is a constant battle in providing a quality health care delivery system in our community of Mesquite. These bills introduced by Senator Rosen are clearly focused on what is critical in today’s rural hospital environment,” said Kelly Adams, CEO of Mesa View Regional Hospital in Mesquite, NV. “We are grateful that our Senator understands rural Nevada. These bills will provide financial assistance where it is needed the most — on physician recruitment and retention.”
The bipartisan Physicians for Underserved Areas Act with Senator John Boozman (R-AR) would revise the graduate medical education process to give medical residency programs in areas with physician shortages a greater chance of gaining available residency slots after hospital closures take place elsewhere in the country.
The bipartisan Specialty Physicians Advancing Rural Care (SPARC) Act with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) would help address the shortage of physicians in rural communities by creating a student loan repayment program for specialist physicians and non-physician specialty providers practicing in rural areas.
The bipartisan Resident Education Deferred Interest (REDI) Act with Senator John Boozman (R-AR) would allow for a pause on student loan interest accrual, as well as a pause on principal loan repayment, for medical and dental students while serving in their residencies or internships.