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Would like to call in, but will be in a meeting, so... I wanted to just say how important this piece of legislation is to the 28 community health clinics (with 146 sites across Oregon) that I represent as the Director of Policy at the Oregon Primary Care Association. We serve the vulnerable and uninsured of Oregon with over a million visits a year, a number that is rising rapidly with the declining economy. In a gallant attempt to help ensure that these services remain available to Americans during the recession, the federal government has channeled some stimulus dollars to our health centers. While these funds are critical and WILL help expand access to care, we continue to struggle because of a lack of providers.
Nationally, there is a huge shortage of primary care doctors and nurses and the numbers leaving the field is astounding; One of our clinics and its community is facing a loss 11 physicians in this year alone. This legislation opens up a new avenue to providers at a critical time.
Several of our clinics already employ naturopaths VERY successfully. They work along side, and must meet all the same requirements as, their "Western-trained" counterparts, and many are willing to serve in areas that have less of a draw to their Western counterparts - rural and inner-city clinics.
This piece of legislation should be celebrated, and we, at the Oregon Primary Care Association, applaud our legislators for passing this critical piece of health reform in a year of monumental health reform.
Jennifer Pratt, Director of Policy, Oregon Primary Care Association
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
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