MADISON, Wis. — Nearly two dozen Republican lawmakers plan to introduce a $3.5 million package of rural health care bills next session that seek to improve health care, education and technology, as part of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative.

Republican state Rep. Ed Brooks of Reedsburg said he wants to draft legislation aimed at bolstering an aging health care workforce by training more workers in specialties needed the most such as OB-GYN and mental health, Wisconsin Public Radio ( ) reported.

“We can leverage the doctors that we have by having other advance practitioners there,” Brooks said in regards to the predicted doctor shortage in Wisconsin.

Brooks also said young residents are leaving rural areas and need incentives to stay for communities to thrive.

“Stop the spiral, stabilize it, then reverse it to attract people back to rural areas so that we can (have) more people to work jobs, so that employers can expand, so that we can have more opportunities for our schools,” Brooks said.

Steven Rush, vice president of workforce and clinical practice at the Wisconsin Hospital Association, said where health professionals are trained influences what parts of the state have health care professionals.

“We have some data, very recent data, that shows 75 percent of nurses stay where they were trained,” Rush said.

Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio,