Friday, April 22, 2005

Scholarship Program for Physician Assistants Approved by Senate

A bill to encourage people to enter physician assistant education programs and to practice in Oklahoma's rural and medically underserved areas won unanimous approval in the State Senate today. House Bill 1411 establishes the Physician Assistant Scholarship Program, which will be supported through a revolving fund created for and administered by the Physician Manpower Training Commission. The measure was authored by Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, and Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada."We have a real need for more physicians in our rural areas; and being that a majority of Oklahoma is rural, it was important that we help get more medical professionals in those areas," said Paddack. "We believe that this scholarship program will encourage more people to go into this field and work in our rural health care systems."A physician assistant is a professional member of the health care system qualified by intense basic science and clinical training to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. The PA does not replace the physician, but works with that person to help extend health care services to patients.Paddack noted that only students who are residents of the state and who have been admitted as a student in an accredited physician assistant program will be eligible for the new scholarship program. If a scholarship recipient fails to fully comply with the provisions of the scholarship contract, the person will be required to return all the funding they had previously received plus interest. HB 1411 now moves to a conference committee.

Source: Oklahoma Senate Press Release

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