House bill addresses shortage of primary care providers in East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

House bill addresses shortage of primary care providers in East Texas

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The lobby of a community health clinic is full. Behind the doors are health care providers, but not enough. As a result, "We don't have as many appointments available," explained Peter Gergen, a certified physician's assistant for the East Texas Community Heath Center (ETCHC) in Nacogdoches. "Waiting times are longer. It takes longer to get in to see us. It takes longer to get an appointment to see us and that kind of shuts access to us."

At least there is a clinic. Numerous East Texas counties have fewer than one doctor per 3500 people.  "Shelby County, San Augustine County, and Sabine County," lists Robin Moore, clinic director. Those are just some of the counties in the area she serves that's listed as health professional shortage areas by state reports.

Health care providers blame the shortage on a lack of incentives for medical school graduates to come to rural communities. "Student loan debt averages about $160,000," said Moore in a press conference held by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians. "Faced with such a burden the ever growing number of medical students choose more lucrative specialties than primary care," said Moore.

House Bill 1876 would establish a loan repayment program. It's for primary care providers who practice in under served areas for a full 4 years. "Funding for House Bill 1876 would come from restructuring of the tobacco tax, specifically closing a tax loop hole on the smokeless tobacco taxes," said Moore. Representative Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville is a joint author. Other east Texas representatives, including Wayne Christian of Center are supporting the bill as a way to improve health care in East Texas. They're asking for immediate passage as time is running out in the legislative process.

Other proponents say it will be money well spent. "Those people that have no insurance or on Medicaid or Medicare find it difficult to access health care," explained Michael Stevenson, a clinic patient who serves on the ETCHC board.

Texas needs about 520 primary care physicians in under served areas.

For more information on House Bill 1876 and the Texas Health Care Access Fund, visit, www.HealthAccessForTexas.org  

  • East Texas NewsMore>>

  • Restaurant Report - Nacogdoches - 07/20/17

    Restaurant Report - Nacogdoches - 07/20/17

    Thursday, July 20 2017 5:04 PM EDT2017-07-20 21:04:26 GMT

    Long John Silver’s, Church's. China Star, Ken's No. 4, Taqueria El 21, Texas Sports Bar and Grill, Jalapeno Tree, Papa John's, Pizza Hut-South Street, Sinc Drive-In on North Street, Subway-North Street, Newk's, and Nacogdochs Medical Center Cafeteria.

    More >>

    Long John Silver’s, Church's. China Star, Ken's No. 4, Taqueria El 21, Texas Sports Bar and Grill, Jalapeno Tree, Papa John's, Pizza Hut-South Street, Sonic Drive-In on North Street, Subway-North Street, Newk's, and Nacogdochs Medical Center Cafeteria.

    More >>
  • Best Furry Friends: Heeler-spaniel mix loves attention

    Best Furry Friends: Heeler-spaniel mix loves attention

    Thursday, July 20 2017 7:17 PM EDT2017-07-20 23:17:01 GMT

    Temporarily calling the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter a home, Remi is hoping to find something a little more permanent. Caretakers said the one-year-old dog is playful and loves attention. Remi was brought into the shelter as a stray about three weeks ago. "He gets along with the other dogs. He still in his puppy stage so he still has a lot of time to go around play with everyone," said Torion Johnson, animal control officer.  Remi is a heeler-spani...

    More >>

    Temporarily calling the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter a home, Remi is hoping to find something a little more permanent. Caretakers said the one-year-old dog is playful and loves attention. Remi was brought into the shelter as a stray about three weeks ago. "He gets along with the other dogs. He still in his puppy stage so he still has a lot of time to go around play with everyone," said Torion Johnson, animal control officer.  Remi is a heeler-spani...

    More >>
  • Lufkin welcomes back Cowboy's Dez Bryant

    Lufkin welcomes back Cowboy's Dez Bryant

    Thursday, July 20 2017 7:14 PM EDT2017-07-20 23:14:51 GMT

    Hundreds of East Texans, and other from farther away, were camped out at Kit McConnico Park since early this morning to see Cowboy's Dez Bryant.

    More >>

    Hundreds of East Texans, and other from farther away, were camped out at Kit McConnico Park since early this morning to see Cowboy's Dez Bryant.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly