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UNS-010: Rural Health

Rural Health: The Wisconsin Medical Society supports improving the delivery, financing and access of medical care to rural Wisconsin and supports:

  1. Increasing rural physician workforce by:
    1. Increasing the number of qualified rural applicants and admissions to the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
    2. Encouraging a rural medicine rotation, including family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, psychiatry, and general surgery for all medical students.
    3. Supporting the development of a rural primary care curriculum and experiences for medical students.
    4. Maintaining or increasing training sites for medical students in rural settings, and promotion of varying rural settings, such as the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) and the MCW regional campus programs in Green Bay and Wausau.
    5. Supporting Area Health Education Centers.
    6. Maintaining an adequate level of state funding for family practice residency programs.
    7. Supporting the National Health Service Corps and similar programs to ensure a steady supply of health care professionals for rural health professional shortage areas.
    8. Support of physician placement services, the physician recruiters association, and other entities that work to fill needed physicians in rural and underserved areas.
    9. Engaging in activities aimed at seeking modifications in state and federal legislation to create a more positive environment for practice.
    10. Improving the public image of the rural primary care physician by publicizing the quality of health care provided in rural areas.
    11. Encouraging physicians to become active in the community and encouraging communities to get to know their physicians.
    12. Funding of and development of rural health support systems to assist physicians in isolated areas.
    13. Supporting programs that provide short-term replacement for National Health Service Corps, Indian Health Services, and other isolated areas for physicians seeking time off for continuing education or vacations.
    14. Supporting continuous improvement in workflow, system design and electronic health records for optimal efficiency.
  2. Improving rural access by:
    1. Publicizing Health Professional Shortage Areas and educating physicians of the benefits of practicing in a Federally Qualified Health Center.
    2. Supporting state and/or federal physician assistance loan programs that repay educational loans for physicians practicing in health care shortage areas like but not limited to the National Health Services Corps and Health Professionals Loan Assistance Program.
    3. Encouraging communities to develop programs to provide health care for the underserved, uninsured and underinsured.
    4. Supporting collaboration among stakeholders and organizations as important step to improving rural health.
  3. Improving rural health literacy by:
    1. Supporting patient access to culturally and geographically appropriate physicians.
    2. Supporting incentives to encourage medical students and physicians from rural areas to practice in rural areas.
  4. Changes in payment differentials by:
    1. Supporting public information dissemination to alert policymakers and the public to the problems experienced by rural health care providers and their patients.
    2. Supporting in a collaborative manner more equitable and realistic reimbursement level for rural health care providers to alleviate the problems of payment inequities.
    3. Supporting a political strategy designed to educate the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation to the problems of Medicare reimbursement inequities.
    4. Improving physician reimbursement and payment incentives for caring for Medicaid patients.
    5. Supporting funding for critical access hospitals and certified rural health clinics.
  5. Health care delivery as a rural development strategy by:
    1. Supporting the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority and other options to strengthen capital financing assistance for economically distressed health care facilities in underserved areas.
    2. Supporting legislation to provide state funding of planning grants for pilot projects in chronically underserved rural areas for the purpose of creating cooperative service programs and rural health care provider networks that would offer comprehensive primary care services.
    3. Supporting community and public health efforts that address social determinants of health as a strategy to enhance the care in rural areas and eliminate disparities. (HOD, 0416)