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Kaine Introduces Legislation to Support the Next Generation of Primary Care Providers

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Primary Care Team Education Centers Act, legislation to support the education and clinical training of new primary care professionals.

“Access to quality and affordable primary care is essential to the health and well-being of our communities,” said Kaine. “But workforce shortages, driven in part by an insufficient number of clinical sites and classroom educators, can make it difficult to access that care and make existing disparities worse. I’m proud to lead this legislation to help address the root causes of health workforce shortages, by investing in our community health centers to train the next generation of primary care providers.”  

The Teaching Health Center program is a proven model that can help address primary care workforce shortages by supporting training in primary care at federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and other community-based patient care centers. Since its inception, clinicians trained in this model are more likely to remain in practice in rural and medically underserved settings. This bill builds on the successes of the Teaching Health Center program to train the next generation of primary care providers in other health care workforce areas not addressed by the existing model.   

The Primary Care Team Education Centers Act would address primary care provider shortages by:

  • Establishing and expanding primary care team education centers to train new health professionals;
  • Developing or enhancing partnerships with institutions of higher education and health care organizations to address clinical faculty, clinical site, and clinical preceptor shortages for health care professionals;
  • Supporting health professional student training in primary care;
  • Integrating and expanding the role of health professionals involved in primary care;
  • Promoting career advancement for health professionals employed by primary care team education centers to improve retention; and
  • Prioritizing grants that address training in health professional shortages and those that support preceptor advancement.

“Seniors are a growing part of the make-up of the United States, becoming 25% of the population by 2030.  Health care access is key to not just living longer, but living better. The Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging supports Senator Kaine’s efforts to address health care workforce shortages. This is good for seniors and good for Virginia,” said Marta Keane, President of the Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

“For people to live long, healthy lives, they need access to healthcare. To meet the needs of our growing and aging population, we need to invest in a robust pipeline of primary health professionals, including pharmacists. The Primary Care Team Education Centers Act uses a proven model to expand access to education and clinical training for the health care workforce we need today and into the future. We are proud to endorse this forward-thinking bill and greatly appreciate the efforts of Senator Kaine in crafting and introducing it,” said Chad Worz, PharmD, a resident of Alexandria, VA.

“Investments in opportunities to strengthen workforce training and development are essential to supporting quality clinicians in places like the nation's 5,400+ Rural Health Clinics,” said Sarah Hohman, Director of Government Affairs for the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. “We applaud Senator Kaine's leadership on these issues and his continued recognition of the immense value of primary care providers.” 

“Nearly nine out of ten dentists find recruiting dental hygienists and assistants particularly challenging, especially in underserved and rural areas. The American Dental Association thanks Senator Kaine for introducing a bill prioritizing training for all oral health care providers, aiming to enhance access to dental care for patients nationwide,” said Linda Edgar, D.D.S., President of the American Dental Association.

“The Primary Care Team Education Centers Act is essential to combatting the current and projected physician shortage by leveraging proven models that promote training in underserved areas, ensuring a robust pipeline of primary care providers for communities in need,” said Carey Goryl, Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment.

“As PA programs across the country continue to face challenges in obtaining clinical rotations for students, the Primary Care Team Education Centers Act represents an innovative solution to ensuring high-quality, interprofessional training for our future health workforce. PAEA applauds Senator Kaine’s leadership on this issue and is proud to endorse the legislation,” said Sara Fletcher, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, PA Education Association.

“The Primary Care Team Education Center Act offers a creative approach to addressing our nation’s shortages of nurses and advanced practice registered nurses, supporting collaboration between our nursing education programs and centers that can serve as critically needed clinical training sites focused on improving community-based care,” said National League for Nursing President and CEO Dr. Beverly Malone. “The National League for Nursing applauds Senator Kaine for his leadership in proposing this innovative strategy to strengthen the primary care workforce and support health equity and diversity.”

“A well-trained primary care workforce, which includes nurses, is essential to ensuring everyone has access to high-quality preventative and maintenance services, regardless of where they live. This bill ensures that we are building a health workforce that is ready to address and improve health outcomes across the lifespan,” said Adrianna Nava, President, National Association of Hispanic Nurses.

This bill is supported by: Advocates for Community Health, American Dental Association, American Health Care Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment, Medicos Unidos Venezuela, National Association of Hispanic Nurses, National Association of Rural Health Clinics, National Association of School Nurses, National Black Nurses Association, National Center for Assisted Living, National League for Nursing, National Rural Health Association, PA Education Association, The International Medical Graduates Academy, Virginia Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Virginia Center for Assisted Living, Virginia Health Care Association, Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and Virginia Rural Health Association.

Full text of the bill is available here.