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Kansas governor outlines initiatives to improve rural health

Associated Press - January 8, 2017 5:16 am

A major financial rating agency says a structural imbalance in Kansas' budget is "likely to persist" even after the state increased income taxes.

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.