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Summary: In an effort to expand graduate medical education residency programs, SB 143 would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide grants to entities that have never had a graduate medical program and are eligible for Medicare education funding. For institutions that have unfilled residency slots, the Board would provide grants that would help the institutions to fill these slots. The Board would provide grants to institutions so that they could create new residency programs and increase the number of first year residency positions for three consecutive state fiscal years. Furthermore, the legislation would provide the Board with the authority to establish a Primary Care Innovative Program for the purpose of providing grants to schools that develop innovate ways to graduate more primary care physicians. Under the current Physician Education Loan Repayment Program, physicians who serve Medicaid patients and patients in the Texas Women's Health Program would be included in the Program. Overall, as the bill analysis states: "C.S.S.B. 143 seeks to promote the expansion of graduate medical education, establish incentives for Texas medical schools to increase the state's supply of physicians, and encourage greater physician participation in Medicaid and the Texas Women's Health Program."
Analysis: This legislation addresses a legitimate need in higher education to preserve the investment the state has already made in Texas medical schools. Still, this would cost nearly $60 million in new spending. We are neutral on this legislation.