Recent calls for restructuring of the nation's health care system have highlighted the deficiencies in the current system of education for the health professions. Of particular concern are the dominance of specialization and hospital-based training and the tendency of new health care providers to settle in communities without substantial health needs. The states are the key actors in reforming health professions education, serving as a primary funding source for health professions schools, chief licensors and regulators of health professions, regulators of private health insurance, key providers of Medicaid, and architects of a variety of subsidy and regulatory programs providing incentives for health professionals to choose specialities and locations for practice. This article provides a taxonomy of state policies affecting health professions education reform and classifies the states according to the choices they have made. Findings show that few states take advantage of their policy options across the four policy types and that most tend to concentrate their efforts on a few policiesignoring potential means of encouraging more primary care providers in underserved areas. Results from regression models explaining state choice of policy adoption highlight the political nature of policy choice and the highly variable nature of state response in health professions education reform.

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