House committee issues free menstrual products and medical student loan bills
The House’s health and human development committee issued legislation to help female students who need access to menstrual products.
House Bill 29 would require public and charter schools to provide free menstrual products to at least half of their bathrooms. Committee members sent it unanimously to the House.
Menstrual products are a necessity for many students and can sometimes interfere with learning, says Susan Conaty-Buck, representative of the Delaware Coalition of Nurse Practitioners.
“You know, when students don’t have access to affordable feminine hygiene products, they are likely to miss several days of school each month, and they will also be uncomfortable in school when they try. to find a way to meet their needs, “says Conaty” When students have accessible, high-quality feminine hygiene products, they can continue their daily lives with minimal disruption. “
The bill does not specify the gender of toilets that require menstrual dispensers, only stating that they must be in at least half of the bathrooms used by students who may have a menstrual cycle.
This leaves it up to schools to decide whether or not to put them in boys’ toilets for transgender students who may have their period but not identify as female.
The bill would cost public and charter schools a total of about $ 77,000 per year to restock dispensers daily and $ 28,000 to install them.
State lawmakers are also looking for ways to attract new doctors to underserved areas of the state.
The House Health and Human Development Committee released Bill 48, which would create a new loan repayment program for health care providers in the state.
State Representative David Bentz (D-Christiana) says his bill is even more needed now than when it was introduced last year.
“Obviously, healthcare practices in general have been hit hard by COVID like everyone else,” Bentz said. “A lot of people don’t take their annual visits and general checks and things like that and that has had an impact on the bottom line of a lot of practices.”
He adds that there just aren’t many medical school graduates coming to Delaware to practice primary care.
These two factors have led many primary care providers to turn to concierge care, close or be absorbed into larger primary care networks, increasing costs for Delawareans.
This bill allows providers to receive up to $ 50,000 per year for 4 years to repay their student loans, provided they practice in underserved areas of the state.
The money will come from a one-time million dollar grant from Delaware insurers, with hospitals also being dollar-for-dollar matching grants for all the doctors who work there.
The bill is now heading to supply, where the funding will need to be approved and incorporated into the budget before going to a full vote in the House.