Despite having the highest number of doctors per capita in the nation, Massachusetts is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, according to a report released by the Massachusetts Medical Society. Many physicians go into specialties, clinical work, academics and corporate positions rather than practicing primary medicine. Diminishing reimbursements, aging baby boomers and the high cost of medical school haven't helped the problem. "Demand for adult medicine is almost insatiable. We have a population that's growing older, more complex," Joe Nunes, Southboro Medical Group practice administrator, told MetroWest. One hospital CEO is attempting to recruit more primary care docs by making them salaried hospital employees rather than just contractors.
The primary care physician shortage isn't limited to Massachusetts. It's a nationwide problem, particularly in rural areas. In a column published in March, Roger A. Rosenblatt examines the nationwide collapse of primary care and what it means for the future of our system. "The shortage of primary-care physicians in community health centers is an early sign of the structural weakness at the core of America's healthcare system, and will ultimately affect everyone."To read more about Massachusetts's physician shortage:
- see this article from MetroWest Daily News
- or for a few ideas on how to fix the problem, read this Seattle Times Op-Ed