The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Murkowski pushes for more rural doctors


Sen. Lisa Murkowski urged Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on July 25 to enforce existing law on rural medical training — and create an environment that will boost rural medicine nationwide. Last month The Senator wrote a letter with Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) — co-signed by a bipartisan group of 18 other Senate colleagues – that was sent to the HHS Secretary.

Congress passed a bill in 1999 that included a provision called the Rural Training Tract (RTT) to boost rural medical care nationwide by requiring a certain amount of training physicians to be assigned work outside of urban areas — but that policy has not been utilized. Senator Murkowski’s recommendation to the secretary is to enforce and practice this policy to alleviate a glaring statistic: 20 percent of the U.S. population resides in rural areas, but less than 9 percent of physicians practice there.


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