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Meyer’s bills address rural health care, day care

‘Our taxpayers should have the benefit of those doctors remaining in Iowa’

-Messenger file photo
Rural hospitals like Trinity Regional Medical Center sometimes struggle to recruit doctors. A bill introduced by Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, would require at least 75% of all medical and dental school admissions at the University of Iowa to be either residents of Iowa or students who completed their undergraduate coursework at an Iowa college.

The University of Iowa would be required to accept a higher percentage of Iowa residents for its medical and dental school programs under a bill proposed by State Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge.

The bill, HF 2151, would require at least 75% of all medical and dental school admissions at the University of Iowa to be either residents of Iowa or students who completed their undergraduate coursework at an Iowa college.

“We brought this bill forward to address the lack of health care providers in Iowa, specifically doctors and dentists,” Meyer said.

The University of Iowa is a taxpayer funded university. Meyer said citizens of Iowa should benefit from having doctors graduate from there.

“We just feel that Iowa residents should have priority to being accepted and they are getting good candidates,” Meyer said. “Our taxpayers should have the benefit of those doctors remaining in Iowa.”

The University of Iowa previously reported that between 68% and 70% of its medical and dental admissions are students either from Iowa or students who completed their undergraduate coursework at an Iowa college.

“This shouldn’t be a big lift for them then,” Meyer said.

The bill would also require the University of Iowa to provide a report of their medical and dental school graduates.

“Where they are doing their residency,” Meyer said. “And where they end up and if they are considered in-state or out-of-state.”

The bill passed through the House subcommittee and committee. Next, it will go to the floor for debate.

Meyer has also introduced legislation to increase child care rates for providers that accept Child Care Assistance.

“That is only for child care providers that are providing care to Child Care Assistance kids.” Meyer said. “If a family is receiving child care assistance through the state program, the state does not pay for the entire cost of that and some of the providers right now are only being reimbursed at 35% of what their cost is.”

Meyer’s legislation would bring that reimbursement cost up to at least 50%.

“That incrementally increases based on their QRS level,” Meyer said. “The rates will be increased based on the quality of the program.”

She added, “No one is going into business to lose money and child care is a business.”

According to Meyer, between fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019, there was a reduction of 18 child care centers, 140 child development homes and 99 unregistered homes accepting CCA in the state.

“We want to at least maintain CCA providers and ideally increase numbers,” Meyer said.

Meyer described child care as a “workforce issue.”

She said, “Our unemployment is so low, we need as many people to participate in the workforce as possible.”

The bills, HF 2067 and HF2068, passed committee with 100% support and are eligible for floor debate.

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