KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Doctors Create Program To Help Providers Adjust To Rural Work Settings

A group of doctors has created a post-doctorate program to provide rural communities with a pipeline of providers, The Iowa Independent reports.

Conference attendees this week in Sioux Falls, S.D., discussed rural health physician shortages and difficulties, especially in mental health and helping doctors adjust to the special needs of rural communities. The program aims to help that, The Iowa Independent reports. "Dr. Jeffrey Leichter, one of five founding members of the Minnesota Consortium for Advanced Rural Psychology Training, told conference attendees on Tuesday that one of the major challenges associated with bringing behavioral health care providers into rural areas is that few are adequately prepared for the realities of practicing there." Because of the problems of poor, uninsured residents living in isolated areas, "Leichter and four other local providers accepted a $23,000 Minnesota state grant and began writing a curriculum that would specifically provide post-doctorate psychologists with first-hand experiences of practicing in a rural setting. Since accepting its first psychology resident in 2006, MCARPT has graduated three students, all of whom have gone on to provide services in underserved areas of Minnesota" (Waddington, 8/6).

Also in the news, Sen. Dick Durbin introduced a bill this week that would allow certified registered nurse anesthetists to be reimbursed by Medicare - a measure designed "to help rural hospitals," The Associated Press/Chicago Tribune reports (8/7).

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