Turner Spr Clinic 2 rSPRINGFIELD Rural health advocates gathered Thursday at Springfield Clinic to honor State Senator Doris Turner for her hard work on the passage of legislation aimed to increase access to health care for rural communities in Illinois.

“Our rural health centers across the state have struggled to maintain adequate staff,” said Turner (D-Springfield). “This law will mean that people across the state will have more access to high quality health care by incentivizing medical professionals to work in underserved areas.”

Private rural health clinics have opened across the state with the goal of providing the same quality care as hospitals in more urban areas. Medical professionals working in private clinics, often in historically underserved areas, were previously not eligible for loan forgiveness despite providing quality care to residents of rural communities. Senate Bill 3017, which was signed into law in May, ensures that the medical professionals who work in private rural health facilities also receive loan forgiveness.

"Senate Bill 3017 will help enhance recruitment and retention efforts,” said Phil Johnson, MD with Litchfield Family Practice. “Doctors, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses for rural health care facilities are very concerned about both recruiting and retaining skilled medical staff.”

The new law is now in effect.