Sen. Casey introduces legislation to address rural healthcare crisis

Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa), arrives in the Senate subway for a vote in the Capitol on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

March 28, 2024

The Community TEAMS Act would establish a nationwide grant program to fund medical training in rural communities and prepare medical school graduates to serve high-risk communities.

US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) introduced bipartisan legislation earlier this week to address the growing crisis healthcare providers are facing in rural Pennsylvania and other parts of the country.

The Community Training, Education and Access for Medical Students (TEAMS) Act aims to increase training opportunities for medical students in rural and underserved communities and it would create a nationwide grant program for medical schools and community-based clinics to fund training in those rural or underserved communities.

The legislation would also prepare more medical students for the challenges of serving in high-risk communities after graduation and increase the number of medical training sites in rural communities.

“One of the most critical investments we can make in our underserved communities is to provide quality health care. That requires medical professionals who understand the health challenges these communities face and possess the necessary experience to help patients through them,” Casey said in a statement.

Last year, medical professionals and providers told the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan legislative agency, that Pennsylvania’s rural hospitals are dealing with a shortage of medical personnel according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Rural hospitals are having a hard time filling vacant nursing positions when compared to the rest of the commonwealth, the story reports. A study by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania found that rural hospitals have struggled to fill 39% of vacant registered nurse positions while the average vacancy rates are near 30%.

“I’m supporting the Community TEAMS Act because it’ll help more of our future doctors gain invaluable experience supporting underserved communities and working towards bridging the gaps in health outcomes,” Casey said.


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.



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