Washington State PTA attended the House Higher Education Committee meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, January 17, 2014 in support of Rep. Haler’s(8th District, Richland) HB 2109 Concerning the development of residency training programs to recruit and retain primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas of the state. Due to committee time constraints, testimony was limited to the Kadlec group. Washington State PTA signed in as a supporter of the bill, we did not get the opportunity to provide oral testimony. The following written testimony was submitted to the committee:
The Washington State PTA represents over 100,000 members across the state with over 1,000,000 children. Our vision is to make every child’s potential a reality. One of the key aspects of our mission is to advocate for the well-being and education of all children. An increase in medical residencies as outlined in HB 2109 will increase access to quality health care for all children, youth and families in Washington State thereby helping children arrive at school ready to learn. Statistics provided by Kadlec Regional Medical Centers indicate that Physicians on the Western side of our state out number physicians on the eastern side of the state by 38% per 10,000 population. While the number of medical residencies in Western Washington at 29.8 per 100,000 population is more than 4 times the number of medical residencies in Central/Eastern Washington at 6.8 per 100,000. These numbers represent inequalities that can make our communities and our children vulnerable to health challenges. Lack of quality health care in a community can have a negative effect in a school community. Washington State PTA has positions that support increased access to healthcare for all children and youth. The efforts identified by this bill have the potential to increase access to healthcare by eliminating a non-financial barrier, especially for children and youth in Eastern Washington. Increased access to quality medical care in these communities will help children arrive at school ready to learn. We encourage your support of HB 2109.