Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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MEDICALLY DISENFRANCHISED

August 11, 2010 , , , , , , , , ,

An acute shortage of Primary Health Physicians has resulted in lack of access to 56 million Americans. They are medically disenfranchised – nearly one in five Americans  have inadequate or no access to primary care physicians.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN URBAN AND RURAL MEDICINE is the difference between an NFL football team and a six man high school team – one that’s playing offense, defense and playing in the band at halftime, says Don McBeath, Director of advocacy for the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals.

Texas is the second largest state in the United States of America with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2), and a population of approximately 25 million. It has 27 counties with no primary care physicians.

What does it mean to live in a county with no primary care physician? For how many years did these counties not have a doctor? What are they doing about it?

A part of me is much more concerned about the counties that have just one over-burdened physician. Many of these counties are served by aging physicians. What will happen when they retire or fall ill or need to relocate?

To make matters worse, Texas Medical Board has very stringent rules that restricts access to what little medical care exists in rural Texas. High standards of care are needed but one should not inadvertently put so much burden on the rural providers that they can’t survive.

With rural America aging rapidly, the medically disenfranchised will be unable to travel to far flung clinics. During emergency, much needed aid does not reach them in a timely fashion to save lives.

Is the rural physician’s loan forgiveness program going to fix the problem? House Bill 2154, signed by Gov. Perry, created a $90 million fund that will pay up to $160,000 of the student loans for a medical school graduate who agrees to practice for a minimum of four years in a medically underserved area in Texas. The money for the fund comes from a tax on smokeless tobacco products.

Over the next few months, I intend to visit these counties and chronicle the stories of the medically disenfranchised and their Harbingers of Hope.  May be this will become my thesis film!

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