Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

RuralHealth Conference Elicits Proposals

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

RuralHealth Conference Elicits Proposals

Article excerpt

By Patrick Casey Associated Press Increased emergency medicine training and additional funding for rural health care were among recommendations presented Tuesday to Gov. David Walters at the end of a two-day conference on rural health in Oklahoma City.

Walters had asked the approximately 400 participants in the Governor's Conference on Rural Health to come up with solutions to rural Oklahoma's health-care delivery problems.

Among the recommendations was one stipulating that Oklahoma's medical schools require 30 percent of their graduates to be trained in family medicine and another 50 percent in primary care.

It also was recommended that medical schools provide students additional training in emergency medicine and on operating a practice in a rural area.

"As I listen to these recommendations, I think I am getting what I asked for," Walters said. "These all are practical, straightforward recommendations."

The statewide conference, the first of its kind, was called to address issues such as Medicaid-Medicare problems, hospital viability and access to health care in rural areas.

The conference was charged specifically with identifying Oklahoma's rural health care needs, reviewing existing resources and developing prioritized recommendations for Walters and the newly established state Office of Rural Health.

The shortage of doctors and nurses in rural areas was cited as a big problem as the conference recommended increased recruiting and retainment efforts.

Among the suggestions for retaining doctors in rural areas were providing them with tax breaks and increased financial support.

The panel also cited a need for more paramedics in rural areas and additional funding for equipment and salaries.

The group also recommended that continuing education be increased for the state's rural doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.

Among the methods, the conference recommended, was a satellite television network similar to one used in Texas. …

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