U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has reintroduced the bipartisan Specialty Physicians Advancing Rural Care (SPARC) Act to address the physician shortages in rural communities.
Wicker joins U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., in issuing the legislation to incentivize physicians to work in rural portions of the nation, including much of Mississippi, which have seen a limited supply of medical specialists for several years.
“The United States is facing a historic nationwide physician shortage, which has hit rural communities in Mississippi especially hard,” Wicker said. “The SPARC Act is designed to attract specialty providers to rural areas by offering incentives to medical professionals who choose to work in underserved areas. It is a simple idea that has the potential to make a major impact across the country.”
Among other provisions, the SPARC Act would allow specialty medicine physicians and non-physician specialty healthcare providers to earn support for education costs. Participants in the program would be obligated to serve in a rural area facing a shortage of specialty physicians.
The legislation would help to address a nationwide physician shortage in rural areas, which are historically medically underserved. Over half of the federally designated health professional shortage areas are located in these communities.