H.B. 776 was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS) March 20. The new law establishes the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program and a governing commission to promulgate rules and regulations for participation in the scholarship program. The program will consist of three phases through which participants will progress: (a) undergraduate pre-dental education; (b) dental school and residency; and (c) initial entry into dental practice in a rural or underserved area of the State of Mississippi. The law becomes effective July 1.
S.B. 143, sponsored by Senator Jane Nelson (R-TX), and co-sponsored by seven other senators, passed the full Senate by a vote of 31-0, and has been referred to the House Committee on Higher Education for consideration. The bill requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB or board) to administer the Resident Physician Expansion Grant Program as a competitive grant program to encourage the creation of new graduate medical education positions through community collaboration and innovative funding. Specifically, the bill requires the board to award grants to physician residency programs at teaching hospitals and other appropriate health care entities. Under the bill, the board may provide grants only to support a residency position that: (1) is created and accredited on or after January 1, 2014; or (2) was created and accredited before January 1, 2013, but as of that date had not yet been filled. In addition, a grant award may be used only to pay direct costs associated with the position, including the salary of the resident physician. Also, the bill establishes a grant program under which the board awards incentive payments to medical schools that demonstrate an increase in the number of physicians who practice in primary care in the state following their residency training.