Answer To The Doctor Shortage? | 101 KXL

Answer To The Doctor Shortage?

Written by Steve Leader on March 18, 2014

The advisor to the president of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, the region’s newest medical school, says the much-publicized “doctor shortage” is actually more of an uneven placement of doctors than an actual shortage.

Dr. Robert Sutton, phD, says the need for primary care physicians is greater in rural areas than in cities. He says the school’s mission is to train students who live out in the country and want to return there as primary care doctors.

The school’s first class, in 2008, was seventy students. Now, they’ve expanded to 135.  Sutton says they’re not prepared to take any more .

He says a big problem is the need for more residency programs in the Northwest, where more doctors can be trained.   Sutton says part of what the public often doesn’t understand is– it’s not simply a matter of training more doctors.

Photo: courtesy of Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences

Posted Under: Local Headlines

1 reply to “Answer To The Doctor Shortage?

  1. John Booke

    The country is bursting at the seams with kids in medical school (close to 90,000) and kids in residency programs (close to 120,000). Over 500 new MDs and ODs could not find residency slots last year. Nation-wide we have an over-supply of doctors maybe even a glut. This is a huge financial problem because we still have a fee-for-service payment system – which encourages doctors to do more even when more is unnecessary. That’s not good news for folks living in sparsely populated rural areas where they still do not have sufficient access to health care providers. One solution would be to contract with newly minted MD’s and ODs before they enter GME programs requiring them to spend at least 10 years in a rural setting.


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