Sen. Jon Tester introduced a bill on Wednesday that would make it easier for doctors to complete their medical residency in rural communities.  It’s called the “Restoring Rural Residencies Act”.  The bill addresses a complaint long held by residency programs that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which help to pay for medical residencies, don’t allow funding to follow residents to rural, critical access facilities.
If it passes the Senate, the bill would would allow Medicare to reimburse programs for time residents spend training at rural hospitals.  He said this bill will get more doctors practicing in rural hospitals across Montana.  A critical access hospital is certified rural by CMS if it has no more than 25 beds, must provide 24-hour emergency care, sees an average patient stay of 96 hours or fewer for acute care and be a certain distance from other hospitals and critical access facilities.