U.S. Congressman John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) today introduced legislation that would help alleviate the country's shortage of family physicians, primary care providers and pediatricians. The Physician Reentry Demonstration Program Act would provide training and financial assistance to physicians returning to medical practice in exchange for their service at a public health care provider.
"In order to fully reform our health care system, we must create a sustainable, integrated workforce that will provide quality service, especially in primary care and community based medicine," said Congressman Sarbanes. "This bill provides incentives that encourage well-trained physicians to begin practicing again at medical centers that are in desperate need of qualified personnel."
The bill would create a grant program for qualified medical training institutions, such as medical schools, hospitals and non-profit organizations, to establish or expand physician reentry programs.
Individuals most likely to take advantage of these programs are mid-career physicians who took time out of the workforce to raise or care for a family member, and retired or retiring physicians who want to continue to practice in a community-based setting. Both groups of physicians would be able to practice on a full or part-time basis and would be covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act which provides physicians with medical liability protection.
Grantees would train reentering physicians, provide a streamlined process for credentialing and continuing medical education, and provide funding to assist them with credentialing fees, loan repayment and salaries. In return for this assistance, physicians must provide a minimum of two years of service at a community health center, VA medical center, or school-based health center.