Sinema Aims to Increase Number of Doctors in Arizona Communities

Jul 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema joined a bipartisan group of senators on a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator in support of a new policy that reimburses medical students for their residency at Critical Access Hospitals, including at the 15 Critical Access Hospitals across Arizona.

“Arizona communities that are home to Critical Access Hospitals suffer from serious shortages of physicians. Physicians tend to practice near where they train, so training more physicians in rural settings is the only way this growing shortfall can be addressed,” said Sinema.

Every county in Arizona faces a shortage of qualified health care providers, and the shortage is most severe in Arizona’s rural counties. Numerous studies have shown a provider is likely to practice in the region where they conducted their residency. CMS is proposing a new rule that will allow medical students to be reimbursed for their time in residency serving Critical Access Hospitals, which are hospitals that have fewer than 25 beds and are more than 35 miles away from any other hospital. Arizona has 15 Critical Access Hospitals, and by incentivizing service at these hospitals, Sinema believes the proposed policy will help combat Arizona’s physician shortages.

Sinema recently cosponsored the bipartisan Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, which helps seniors in rural Arizona access the in-home health care services they’ve earned through Medicare. Sinema also recently cosponsored the bipartisan Rural Access to Hospice Act, which increases access to hospice care for Arizonans in rural communities. Additionally, earlier this year Sinema partnered with a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Mental Health Improvement Act, which expands mental health services for seniors.

Read the full text of the letter HERE.