Bill aims to encourage new physicians

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New legislation is designed to entice new doctors to practice in underserved area or specialties. The bill, the Physician Workforce and Graduate Medical Education Enhancement Act of 2007, was introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas).

The bill would set aside $25 million to make interest-free loans to rural or urban hospitals for starting a residency program in family, internal or emergency medicine; pediatrics; obstetrics-gynecology; or general surgery. Many rural and inner-city hospitals cannot afford the $100,000 cost to train a resident, Burgess told Congress.

Burgess also introduced the High Need Physician Specialty Workforce Incentive Act of 2007, which would establish scholarships, loan forgiveness plans and tax incentives for doctors entering the same targeted specialties. Scholarships could be up to $30,000 and would be exempt from taxes. The federal government would forgive up to $35,000 in debt for each year of service.