COLORADO- A bill aimed at retaining more physicians in rural parts of the state is in the works at the state legislature.
If signed into law, it would create a scholarship program with the University of Colorado School of Medicine for students who plan to work in rural or ‘frontier’ areas- which are defined by the Colorado Rural Health Center.
There are requirements with the scholarship, including a written statement from the student with a commitment to work in the area four years after their residency training.
‘You know frankly, this is how our rural economies grow they come on out, they make decent wages, they hopefully marry local, have kids and stay,’ said Rep. Bri Buentello (D- Pueblo) who is sponsoring the legislation.
Buentello says addressing the limited access to health care in rural parts of the state is something that should be a top priority.
For many physicians coming out of medical school, they face large amounts of debt.
‘The solution’s not going to happen overnight,’ said Buentello, ‘5-7 years from now, if this bill passes we’ll see a significant improvement in rural health care.
According to the bill, each scholarship would be at least $10,000 a year, and would be renewable each of the four years the student is in medical school.
The bill may come at a cost, but Buentello believes it’s something that’s needed for under-served areas of the state.