Billy Long visits Ozark Center to discuss residency programs

Local News

JOPLIN, MO — Congressman Billy Long was in Joplin this afternoon speaking to psychiatric residents.

The congressman was at the Ozark Center talking to psychiatric residents about the program.
Freeman Health System also thanked him for his support of residency funding.

Paula Baker, President and CEO of Freeman Health System says, “There are not enough residency programs and we are going to see facing a severe shortage of psychiatrists in the upcoming years.”

On Tuesday, congressman Billy Long was at the Ozark Center speaking to its twelve psychiatric residents about residency funding.

Congress recently reauthorized the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program that would fund 59 medical training programs for three years.

Rep. Billy Long, (R-MO): “We want to get more funding for all their years through their residency here. I didn’t realize a child could go to four years of undergrad and three years of med school and then stand a good chance of not get into a residency program. So there’s a lot bigger need than what there are students in residency programs now. We need to expand the reach and the ability of kids to get into residency programs.”

The Ozark Center is seeking support for the Doctors Of Community Act that would fund ten years of programs starting the fiscal year of 2024 and provide more residency slots.

Rep. Billy Long commented, “That’s the big benefit of the healthcare community if we get enough people in the field to help with everyone that needs mental health issues, and I know there are senators that worked tirelessly on mental health issues in the state of Missouri.”

Freeman Health System says with the current residency funding being a few years sometimes residents have to pay out of their own pockets or apply for scholarships to finish their residency.

President and CEO Paula Baker says, “Having four year funding would be very very helpful. That gives residents the security that once they start the program they will be able to follow it to fruition. It also will encourage more students to enter psychiatry residency so very very important.”

She says if the doctors of community act moves forward it would help them accept more residents to their program.

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