Media draw attention to state cuts to primary care workforce initiatives

Tags: news, budget, advocacy, workforce, primary care, training

Media draw attention to state cuts to primary care workforce initiatives

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posted 08.23.11

Two articles published this week analyze the impact state budget cuts will have on the primary care physician workforce.

As Perry draws national scrutiny, Texas health care falters,” published Aug. 17 in the Houston Chronicle, features TAFP member Jake Margo, Jr., M.D., as he criticizes cuts to the physician education loan repayment program-an important tool for recruiting physicians to shortage areas like the Rio Grande Valley. “State cuts mean fewer residency slots in Texas,” posted Aug. 22 in the Texas Tribune, focuses on cuts to graduate medical education with a video interview with Texas Medical Association President Bruce Malone, M.D.

The Chronicle reporters wrote, “Lawmakers slashed 80 percent of the state’s investment in the production of primary care doctors by reducing funding to a loan repayment program-like the one Margo took advantage of-and a primary care mentoring program. Texas Academy of Family Physicians CEO Tom Banning said the impact of the cuts means ‘we will have fewer physicians caring for Texas patients at a time we need to be growing that base.’”

Malone told the Tribune about how cuts to graduate medical education could impair the state’s ability to maintain an adequate physician training pipeline. The effect on patient care “will not be seen immediately, but cannot be fixed later with an influx of cash.”

“There is a long queue for that training, so if you cut the people at the beginning of the training process, there's no way you can make them up quickly,” Malone said in a Tribune video interview.

Through the interim and leading into the 83rd Texas Legislature in 2013, TAFP is laying the groundwork for the next major advocacy initiative: the Primary Care Rescue Act. We need members to post stories and thoughts on what might go into legislation to boost primary care and increase access to care for Texas patients. Read about the effort and post your comments on the TXFamilyDocs blog.