Snapshot Survey Results Boost NCMS Presentation to Legislative Committee

NCMS Senior VP and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett testifies before legislative committee on health care access in rural areas of the state.

North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett told the legislature’s Committee on Access to Health Care in Rural North Carolina on Monday that the solution to access issues requires a “multi-faceted approach.” Policy initiatives to improve health care access in rural parts of the state include making the practice environment more enticing to clinicians by guarding against costly administrative mandates; stable reimbursements to ensure a revenue stream; encouraging telemedicine; and economic development to make communities more appealing for practitioners and their families to live and work.

Watch video of Chip Baggett’s testimony at right or on YouTube.

In preparation for Baggett’s appearance before the committee, the NCMS polled its membership through our monthly Snapshot Survey on why physicians and physician assistants chose to practice in a rural or underserved area of the state. The survey showed the vast majority of rural practice respondents have an affinity for a rural lifestyle and prefer a small practice setting.

The survey showed the vast majority of rural practice respondents have an affinity for a rural lifestyle and prefer a small practice setting. A fair percentage (23 percent) also returned to the rural community because it is where they grew up. Altruistic motives figured prominently as well, with 27 percent saying they practice in an underserved area because it’s the right thing to do. Financial incentives, including educational loan repayment, was the least compelling reason to practice in a rural area, according to the survey results.

On Monday, the legislative committee also heard from representatives from Campbell University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine, the University of North Carolina’s Sheps Center for Health Services Research, the state’s Office of Rural Health and the NC Rural Center. The committee will meet up to three more times before making a recommendation to the General Assembly this spring.

Committee member Rep. Greg Murphy, MD, (R-Pitt), the legislature’s only physician, commented: “Truth be told, this is not just a health care issue, it’s an economic development issue.”

 
 

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