Washington, D.C. (September 28, 2016) – Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) today introduced a resolution expressing support for a stable and sustainable funding source for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program. The THCGME program is dedicated to training primary-care physicians and dentists in community-based settings to help fill shortages of primary-care clinicians across the country.
“Bringing more general family practice doctors, OBGYNs, and psychiatrists to Eastern Washington is one of my top priorities. Recruiting and developing the next generation of medical providers in our community starts with securing the funding and building the facilities needed to attract more doctors to our area,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “One way to do this is by continuing the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program. The program has helped recruit 60 percent more medical residents to Eastern Washington in the last two years, and the resolution my colleagues and I introduced today continues the success teaching health centers, including the Spokane Teaching Health Center, have achieved to help grow our medical community and provide better, faster care to our rural communities.”
“Too many families in rural communities are struggling to access the health care they need due to a shortage of primary care physicians. The doctor shortage threatens the health of the over 46 million Americans who call rural regions of the country home, including Ellensburg and Chelan in my home state of Washington. Community Health Centers play a critical role in meeting this need,” said Rep. Reichert. “It only makes sense that we should be training our future doctors in the setting where we need them most – and that’s what the THCGME does. It has a proven track record of attracting and retaining high-quality medical professionals in underserved areas. I urge my colleagues in Congress to join us in supporting the THCGME program and provide it with the resources necessary to serve our communities.”
“In communities across America, there is a growing need for more primary care providers,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “By training primary care providers in diverse settings, the Teaching Health Center program expands access to health services in rural and underserved urban communities. This important program deserves continued Congressional support.”
“The benefits of Teaching Health Centers are widespread. They give aspiring primary care physicians – who are so crucial to providing personalized preventative care and ensuring health concerns are caught and treated early – the opportunity to train in a diverse setting,” said Rep Tsongas. “And as I have seen in my own district at exceptional facilities like the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Teaching Health Centers provide communities with the next generation of physicians for their area. The residency program at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center has trained 161 family physicians, more than 73% of whom work in underserved communities and 32% in community health centers. Last year, I led a bipartisan effort for two years of funding for the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education program and am proud to join Reps. Reichert, Blumenauer, and McMorris Rodgers to make that funding permanent.”