Help end the doctor shortage

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For many people in the United States, going to the doctor is not easy. It’s not the cost or insurance coverage that is the issue -- the problem is there are literally no doctors. A lack of access to medical care is a crisis facing rural communities across the country, and Texas is ground zero. 27 Texas counties have no primary care physician and over 3 million Texans live in counties considered medically underserved. Some counties don’t even have a hospital. It may be hard to believe, but some people are forced to go to Mexico if they want access to a doctor.

In 2014, Missouri passed a law allowing medical school graduates to work as "assistant physicians" and treat patients in medically underserved areas, bypassing the requirement to complete a residency program first. Under the new law, the medical school graduates must be supervised in person by a collaborating physician for 30 days, have passed the first two sections of the national licensing exam, and be approved by the State Board which issues medical licenses. Following Missouri's steps, similar measures were enacted in Arkansas and Kansas and considered in Oklahoma. I believe a similar law in Texas would help bring medical care to one of the most underserved populations in the country.

I’m calling on the Texas legislature and governor to pass a new law in Texas. The law would allow those waiting on residency spots to serve rural communities, helping to end a crisis that is costing many Texans their good health and in some cases their lives.

My name is Olga, and I’m a medical school graduate and Texas resident. I would love to go into these rural communities and help provide the medical care they need so desperately. But I can’t, because I haven't completed the residency requirements. There are thousands of people just like me, waiting for an open residency spot, who could help to address the severe shortage of health-care professionals.

Unless we create an exception for underserved communities, many people living in rural areas will go without care and pay the price. Texas’ rural counties have statistically higher rates of death from disease than their urban counterparts. This is even more heartbreaking when you know there are people who willing to help but are not allowed.

Please help me get Texas to do what Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas did to address their shortage of doctors. These people are our fellow Americans, and they need us to stand with them for the care they deserve. Please sign and share my petition today!