March 06, 2021

Small towns are the focus of House GOP effort to recruit more medical professionals

HSB 168 focuses on the initial medical school training by requiring the University of Iowa medical and dental schools to have 75 percent of their admitted students be from the state of Iowa.

HF 270 focuses on the next stage of health care education, at the medical residency level following graduating from medical school. This bill similarly requires the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to offer a medical residency audition rotation and interview to those with an Iowa connection (Iowa resident, undergraduate degree from an Iowa college, or medical degree from an Iowa medical school) in the top 6 most needed medical specialties in Iowa, including OB/GYN and psychiatry.

Iowans know that if a medical student or medical resident has a connection to the state and then is able to complete their training here while in their mid-20s and 30s, it is more likely they set roots, start their family, and stay and practice in Iowa. This common-sense approach to recruit and retain more health care providers was opposed by every single Democrat on the committee. Democrats cited two reasons for their opposition. First, they placed greater value on the administrative burden executives at the University of Iowa might face. If the choice is a few more hours in the office for UI administrators or more health care providers in rural Iowa, Republicans will choose more providers every time. Second, they are worried about the loss of higher non-resident tuition dollars for UI. Again, if the choice is between Iowa taxpayers funding Iowans at the UI medical school, Republicans will choose the strategy that keeps Iowans in Iowa every time.

The primary role for a state university that receives hundreds of millions in taxpayer funding should be training medical professionals to practice in Iowa after graduation. Too often our state university wastes significant time and money training medical students/residents that have no interest in staying in Iowa. For example, not a single graduate of the last two OB/GYN residency classes from UIHC stayed to practice in Iowa.The committee also passed Senate File 129. This bill was brought forward by the Iowa Medical Society to expand access to the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program by allowing OB/GYNs to participate in the program, allow for additional part-time practice options for those receiving the loan repayment, and to allow psychiatrists to practice in additional Iowa communities and still receive loan forgiveness.

House Republicans are continuously working to find ways to expand health care workforce and these bills are important steps to build up the pipeline of future Iowa physicians.

This week, the House Human Resources Committee passed multiple bills to recruit and retain health care providers in Iowa. House Study Bill 168 and House File 270 focus on medical training at the University of Iowa, the state’s only taxpayer funded medical school and hospital.

Forum Schedule This year, due to COVID-19, we will be holding our forums through an online form called Webex. If you would like to take part in the forums, you will need to pre-register by emailing Representative Fry at joel.fry@legis.iowa.gov. Once you have emailed him, you will then receive an email 24 hours prior to each meeting with a link to join the meeting. The schedule for the forums will be:March 4 at noonApril 1 at noon