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Salina Surgical Hospital
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Kansas governor outlines initiatives to improve rural health

Associated Press - January 8, 2017 5:16 am

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

Gov. Sam Brownback has outlined two long-term initiatives designed to bring more doctors to rural Kansas.

Brownback outlined a proposal Friday to set aside $5 million in state funds to provide seed money for new doctor-training programs at Kansas hospitals. He and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said the goal is to attract more federal and private dollars.

The governor also announced during a Statehouse news conference that he’s forming a task force to draft a plan for establishing a privately funded school to train osteopaths in Kansas. Osteopaths are doctors who generally focus on providing primary care and preventative medicine.

Brownback noted that Kansas has had a shortage of medical personnel in rural areas for decades and that 92 of the state’s 105 counties are considered medically underserved.