Solutions To Montana’s Healthcare Shortages
"Although many Montana communities have historically struggled with healthcare shortages, these changes would mark a big step forward in making Montana a place where professionals come to practice and patients come for medical care."
Montana has long experienced issues revolving around healthcare shortages. In fact, all of Montana is designated by the federal government as “medically underserved.”
During COVID, Montana made “the rapid licensure, renewal of licensure, or reactivation of licensure” a top priority, temporarily waiving regulations to quickly expand our healthcare workforce.
With healthcare shortages persisting, policymakers should be focused on permanently reducing licensure red tape and expanding the ability of current practitioners to care for their patients.
That’s why today we released the 2022 Healthcare Policy Playbook, which provides lawmakers some ideas for expanding Montana’s healthcare workforce without expanding government.
Emergency regulatory flexibilities during COVID allowed a streamlined process for medical professionals to become licensed to practice in Montana as long as they had a license in good standing in another state that was recognized. Lawmakers should make these regulatory flexibilities permanent.
Many rural Montana counties, such as Powder River County, have no local primary care physician. There is, however, a community pharmacy. Expanding the ability of pharmacists to care for patients could play a critical role in filling the gaps in Montana’s health care system, especially in rural communities.
COVID-19 emergency regulatory flexibilities temporarily allowed doctors who had retired in the last five years to quickly reactivate their licenses. Regulators should make these regulatory flexibilities permanent.
Montana has a serious bottleneck on the number of new doctors due to the many constraints on post-graduate training programs in rural states. Lawmakers can put young doctors on a fast track to practice in Montana by creating an alternative pathway for training.
Examples abound of unnecessary licensure requirements. Lawmakers should support “clean up” reforms that eliminate needless licensure red tape.
To get the full Healthcare Playbook click here.
Although many Montana communities have historically struggled with healthcare shortages, these changes would mark a big step forward in making Montana a place where professionals come to practice and patients come for medical care.
Oil & Gas Leases Plummet
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal detailed just how few acres the Biden Administrations has leased out for Oil & Gas. In fact, the Biden administration leased fewer acres for oil-and-gas drilling offshore and on federal land than any other administration in its early stages dating back to the end of World War II.
Our Take: Now more than ever we need to unleash all forms of energy, but government excess continues to get in the way. Unleashing American energy production will require a renewed commitment to downsizing the federal government.
Across Montana, new fires have been popping up left and right. But regardless of if it is in the Flathead area or on the iconic Mt. Helena, one thing remains consistent – when these wildfires enter into actively managed forests, they slow and become less catastrophic.
Our Take: Active forest management works, it’s just that simple. But all too often, bureaucratic red tape and activist lawsuits delay forest management projects for so long that they burn up before restoration efforts can ever begin. It’s time for officials to end this bureaucratic bottleneck and allow forest management projects to help make our forests more resilient to catastrophic fires.
Montana’s Medical Desert
A recent article from Newsmax detailed how more than 30 million Americans live in “medical deserts,” where residents have inadequate access to healthcare. Rural areas are disproportionately affected, placing Montana as one the top states for medical deserts.
Our Take: During the COVID pandemic, regulatory flexibilities for healthcare licensure helped Montana’s healthcare system overcome our longstanding healthcare shortages and rapidly add capacity when it was needed most. As severe healthcare shortages persist, policymakers should be focused on permanently reducing licensure red tape and expanding the ability of current practitioners to care for their patients.