SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new law backed by state Rep. Nathan Reitz, D-Steelville, will boost health care access across Illinois by increasing grant opportunities from the Department of Public Health (DPH) for doctors working in underserved areas.
“Every community across the state deserves easy, affordable access to medical care. Unfortunately, some are getting overlooked and do not receive the same availability as others, especially in rural areas,” Reitz said. “Areas without enough doctors are overburdened, and we see a shortage of medical professionals across our state.”
Reitz supported Senate Bill 447, or the Underserved Physician Workforce Act, which expands the list of medical specialties currently eligible for DPH grants for practicing medicine in underserved communities. The act also awards educational loan repayment assistance for new physicians to establish practices in these areas. The bill received bipartisan support in the House and Senate and was recently signed into law.
“Accomplishing my goal of building a stronger Illinois means delivering first-class health care to everyone,” Reitz said. “Health care should not be limited by where a person lives or how much money they have. This legislation helps to ensure that our downstate communities are able to provide quality care to all residents in Southern Illinois.”