NCMS Foundation: Rural Broadband Service Means Better Access to Care

NCMS and NCMS Foundation Board members discuss access to care in underserved areas.

At its joint meeting with the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board of Directors on May 19, the NCMS Foundation Board of Trustees discussed how to improve access to health care in rural North Carolina. Ideas included ways to attract physicians and PAs to rural communities. “Get them young and get them connected locally,” was the common thread.

The NCMS Foundation’s Community Practitioner Program has made inroads by placing physicians, PAs and nurse practitioners in underserved communities for more than a quarter century. The North Carolina General Assembly also seems motivated to address this issue and has introduced legislation funding loan repayments to physicians and PAs who work in underserved areas as well as to study changes in general medical education funding for rural hospitals.

The NCMS Foundation Trustees asked that the NCMS Legislative Cabinet support broadband initiatives throughout the state, but particularly in the 37 counties in North Carolina that don’t currently have this technology. Reliable broadband service would allow telemedicine as a viable option when there is not ready access to a physician or PA.


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