A push on Capitol Hill to bring medical volunteers across state lines

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Getting mobile with medical practices. Sometimes it is difficult to get immediate treatment in remote rural areas. Stan Brock, founder of Remote Area Medical, is trying to give states a reason to allow volunteer doctors to cross state lines with their practice. Brock says this will help save thousands of lives.

Stan Brock says there is no shortage of volunteers to provide the healthcare. The only problem is the inability for crossing state lines.

A TV star but more importantly, a philanthropist. Stan Brock has made it his mission to give health care to those who need it, no cost attached, through Remote Area Medical. His organization holds clinics across the U.S., treating thousands for free.

“It’s a great arrangement between those that need the help and those that are willing to give the help. And it’s totally free at no cost to the government, no cost to the taxpayer,” said Brock.

The idea came to Brock in 1953 and he says getting support has been easy.

“We have no problem at all getting volunteers to do this if they are allowed to cross state lines,” said Brock.

This is where Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN) comes in. His legislation called the Healthier Act would offer 1 million dollars to states who allow medical volunteers to cross state lines to help. As of now only 12 states can participate.

“The main thing is to try to call attention to this and the fact that they are limited and not able to do that at this point,” said Duncan.

Duncan is trying to eliminate regulations that prevent the practice. Georgetown University professor James Angel reminds us getting rid of these regulations will have to be done locally.

“Everything is regulated at the state level. And if you want to cross state lines you have a lot of paperwork issues to be able to deliver care across state lines,” said Angel.

Angel says these regulations are put in place to protect consumers from bad apples in the health care sector. He also says this legislation would be a cost for the federal government, but not much.

“The federal government might spend up to $56 million on this if every state took advantage of it. But in the politics of Washington, 56 million gets lost in the decimal points,” said Angel.

Duncan’s legislation currently sits in the House subcommittee on Health. It has multiple co-sponsors, including Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen.