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The Shortage Of Physicians In Rural America

1096 words - 5 pages

The United States is going through a huge shortage of physicians, which is composing a very severe supply and demand problem in this country. Citizens living in rural areas should be able to receive the same amount of quality care as those living in urban areas. The shortage of physicians in rural America calls for immediate attention and change because the shortage is affecting the quality of patient care. The life expectancy of people living in these areas is declining due to treatable conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Thankfully, these conditions can be managed with proper medical treatment. Many people living in rural America have ...view middle of the document...

Many community leaders have tried to persuade doctors to practice medicine in rustic areas. The new healthcare reform law addresses these problems. With incentives of ten percent bonus to physicians who treat Medicare patients within their areas and additional money for hospitals.

The shortage of physicians is because of two reasons. First reason is the high number of Americans not able to pay for healthcare because they have no insurance. The second reason is healthcare providers have a tendency to locate their practices in urban cities. Healthcare providers are not willing to give up the conveniences, up to date technology, prestige, and higher salaries. This means patients having difficulty getting healthcare, experience long waiting times to see their physicians, and having to travel for care. There also has been lots of pressure by the government on the number and specialty of physicians. There was a consultant group that did a study done estimated by 1975 there is a possibility of shortage in physicians, about four thousand doctors. The government responded to this study by giving financial assistance to medical schools. The colleges were also encouraged to increase their enrollment at existing medical schools. Another solution is to shorten medical school from fourteen years.

In the United States about one third of all doctors have decided to practice medicine in the field of family practice, pediatrics, or general internal medicine. The rest of the doctors are in medical specialties which include obstetrics, gynecology, general surgery, and psychiatry. In the 1980’s managed care has arisen and policymakers became worried the United States was not training a sufficient amount of primary care doctors. Success was in the hands of these physicians. The physicians were told to act as the gatekeepers to keep to more costly specialized medicine. In 1986 Congress made the Council on Graduate Medical Education. Their purpose was to offer recommendations on workforce policies for the physicians. They also issued many reports that predicted by the year 2000 an shortage of physicians. Many people do not realize how bad this shortage problem really is. It affects the care needed for patients everyday. Without physicians patients could not get seen for moderate to severe care. This evidently puts their life in danger and can do more harm than good for other less severe patients.
Economists believe that the labor market can...

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