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Rural jobs program looks to doctors and nurses

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President Obama unveiled a new jobs initiative for rural America last week. Not targeting roads and bridges, but doctors and nurses. The Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick explains why federal officials believe more doctors could be good medicine for struggling rural economies.

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There are more than 1,300 medical centers around the country and 13 in New York State labeled "Critical Access Hospitals" because they provide care to under-served communities--places like the Catskills and the Adirondacks.

As part the new jobs push, the federal government is expanding a program that allows doctors and other medical staff to get help repaying their student loans by committing to work in these hospitals.

Krisiti Martensen is with the federal office of rural health policy, and she explained how doctors can drive economic growth.

"Having a physician also involves the creation of jobs for medical and support staff within those clinics and hospitals and it also results in economic activity within the local businesses."

The White House estimates that just one primary care physician can generate 1.5 million dollars in annual revenue and create 23 jobs in a rural community.

The question now is how much money congress will allocate the fund the program¿s expansion. That won't be determined until next year's budget is approved.

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