Arizona bill aims to alleviate state’s shortage of doctors and nurses

Mar 4, 2019, 4:45 AM | Updated: Mar 5, 2019, 4:26 pm

(Pixabay Photo)...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Heather Carter says she introduced Senate Bill 1354 in an effort to combat the state’s widespread shortage of doctors and nurses.

“This is a critical opportunity for Arizona to address those issues and try to come up with a solution that works for the state,” Carter told KTAR News 92.3 FM last week.

“I think it’s really important for us to focus on priority issues like this in this next budget cycle when we have available dollars.”

The shortage of health care professionals in the state isn’t new, according to Debbie Johnston, senior vice president of policy development at the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

“There’s a severe shortage of physicians and other health care workers in Arizona. This has been going on for several years,” Johnston told KTAR News 92.3 FM last week.

Arizona has a particular shortage in primary care and places 44th out of all states on number of active primary care physicians, she said.

She said there are 78 primary care physicians per 100,000 Arizonans compared to the national average of 92, and in rural Arizona, that number drops to 59.

Senate Bill 1354, it will really help us address these shortages by allocating $20 million in state funds for graduate medical education with a goal of targeting geographic areas of greatest need. This would include rural counties, specifically,” Johnston said.

The bill also includes funding for community college and university medical training programs and medical loan repayment plans for physicians who work in underserved communities.

“If individuals commit to staying in Arizona once they gradate and they apply for these programs, then they will be able to receive loan forgiveness and loan repayment,” Carter said.

“That allows us to incentivize individuals to work in our state in high-needs areas.”

Carter said she is confident that, if passed, the bill would make a significant impact.

“The whole package together will really move the needle forward in a very assertive way, and I think that’s good for the state,” she said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon and Peter Samore contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of a Mesa Police patrol vehicle. A man was killed in a shooting involving Mesa officers ...

Man killed in shooting involving Mesa police Sunday night

A man was killed in a shooting involving Mesa police after officers responded to a domestic violence call Sunday night.

25 minutes ago

patrol car in front of caution tape...

Police investigating 2 south Phoenix homicides from over the weekend

Investigations are underway after two people were found fatally shot Sunday morning in separate south Phoenix shootings, authorities said. 

2 hours ago

Arizona man sentenced after attempted child sex trafficking...

Arizona man gets 7 years in prison for attempted child sex trafficking

An Arizona man was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted child sex trafficking on Thursday, officials said.

3 hours ago

The Boys and Girls Club city facility at 300 E. Chandler Blvd is set to be renovated thanks to an a...

Serena O'Sullivan

East Valley city approves $1.3 million renovation of Boys and Girls Club facility

The city of Chandler said it approved an amended lease agreement to renovate the Chandler Compadres facility for $1.3 million last week.

3 hours ago

(Phoenix Police Department Photo/via YouTube)...

Police share body cam footage related to fatal shooting of alleged carjacker in Glendale

The Phoenix Police Department released body camera footage related to an early September shooting of an alleged carjacker on Friday.

3 hours ago

A new family entertainment facility is expected to open at a retail center in Peoria. (Avison Young...

Phoenix Business Journal Staff

Indoor family fun park concept set for Arizona debut in West Valley

Slick City Action Park, an indoor entertainment center, has signed a lease for 35,000 square feet in Peoria, its first Arizona location.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Arizona bill aims to alleviate state’s shortage of doctors and nurses