NY Bill Urges Upstate Medical U. to Consider Mohawk Valley Branch

Oswego, NY – Upstate Medical University is looking at ways to bring more doctors and nurses to rural areas, like the Mohawk Valley.

A bill in the state legislature calls on Upstate to study the issue.

The bill wouldn't provide any money for the study, but Upstate President Dr. David Smith said its passage is still important.

"I think this is an acknowledgement of the problem as much as anything else. It validates that we have an issue," said Dr. Smith.

Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito sponsored the bill. She said the measure aims to help reverse the trend of doctors leaving sparsely populated regions.

"More and more physicians and health professionals are choosing to practice in large cities rather than small communities," said Destitio in a statement.

She says the number of active physicians in the Mohawk Valley has declined by 8% during the past five years.

The findings of the study would have to be presented to the governor, state Legislature, and the SUNY Board of Trustees by January, 2011.

Assembly Democrats William B. Magnarelli and Al Stirpe from the Syracuse area, along with Addie J. Russell from the North Country sponsored the bill.

the measure now heads to the state Senate.