HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Officials are looking to address the growing number of physician shortages in Alabama.

As the need for health care increases, having enough doctors in place for those services is becoming a vital need across the state. According to the state’s medical association, Alabama is short about 3,000 doctors.

Alabama Senator April Weaver introduced the Physician Workforce Act to address the growing need for medical professionals.

Medical officials in North Alabama believe the new bill could positively impact physician shortages across the state.

Dr. Roger D. Smalligan at the UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Center says part of the bill that would reduce postgraduate training for international medical students would be significant in filling those positions in a timely fashion.

“This will allow them to get their license early enough to where they could enter the workforce on their days off they can be working in emergency rooms or urgent cares if they can get that license a year earlier,” Smalligan told News 19.

Dr. Smalligan says keeping doctors in the state is key to fulfilling that need especially in rural areas.

“Almost 80 to 90 percent of our medical students are going to be from the state of Alabama if we can find sharp young people from rural Alabama many of these young people are more likely to be interested in and willing to go back and practice in their hometown area,” Smalligan said.

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Without altering the high standard for care, the bill would also enable those who have yet to match with a residency program to offer care under certain circumstances.

Both the House and Senate versions of this bill passed unanimously in committee, and it will next be voted on by each chamber.