Recommendations Issued By Legislative Committee on Access to Care In Rural NC

The Legislative Research Commission’s Committee on Access to Healthcare in Rural North Carolina met for its fourth and last meeting on April 12, submitting its seven recommendations to the General Assembly. Read the draft report and its recommendations. A summary also is available on the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Legislative Blog.

The Committee, co-chaired by NC Representative David R. Lewis (R-Harnett) and NC Senator David L. Curtis (R-Lincoln), was charged with studying the issues surrounding access to health care in rural communities in the state, with particular focus on the physician shortage in medically underserved areas; potential solutions to the shortage and its impacts and availability of eye care in rural communities.

NCMS Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Advancement and Associate General Counsel Chip Baggett testified before the committee at its first meeting in January. Watch his testimony.

The committee’s recommendations after hearing from a variety of experts are:

  • Identify ways to enhance graduate medical education in rural areas.
  • Find rural hospitals that want to be designated as teaching hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • Appropriate $5 million in recurring funding for the Southern Regional AHEC and $3 million in recurring funding for Eastern AHEC.
  • Increase funding for loan repayment targeting rural providers.
  • Study the State Health Plan and Medicaid program to increase preventative health services, improve outcomes and reduce costs.
  • Enact legislation to implement a statutory framework for telemedicine and further study telemedicine issues.
  • Develop a plan to support medical education and residencies to address the state’s health needs.

Read the full report.



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  • Sandeep tiwari, md

    NC Medicaid should not make primary care physicians have mandatory hospital privileges. Rural physicians are at a disadvantage as lack of hospitalist services in certain specialties force them to work inpatient and outpatient, leading to burnout, while in urban hospitals physicians have hospitalist service even in pediatrics. Urban pediatricians can focus on outpatient primary care only and provide effective care.

  • Kerry Allen Willis

    What completely and utterly worthless recommendations that wasted resources that could have been used for something good.

    Suggestions that accomplish something and improve access in rural areas.
    1.Ask the federal government to end subsidies to hospitals to employ physicians. Pay all Physicians the same amount for the same services regardless of who employs them.
    2. Allow the NC Treasurer to develop and implement a Direct Primary Care Program for Physicians and patients covered by the State Employees Health plan.
    3. Require the new Medicaid providers to offer a DPC like option to participating Physicians
    4. All Physicians in rural areas to deduct bad debt for indigent acre on their taxes

    Currently the subsidies given to employed physicians create pay scales that can’t be matched in rural areas and a financial model has to be created that levels the playing field and creates opportunity for Docs who want to work in those areas.

    In the meantime, avoiding feel good commissions and individuals who don’t understand the problem or have the imagination to develop or even suggest innovative solutions that might actually help should be avoided


    There must be a way we can utilize retired physicians in rural areas.(eg. teaching?) Personally after 26 years of schooling/training and thirty years of practice, I have been retired 18 years in medical non-productivity. Retirement (Quitting) was based on coverage requirements and overhead expense of a reduced practice.