Wisconsin Has Primary Care Physician Shortage

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Wisconsin has a shortage of 374 primary care physicians, primarily in rural areas and some inner-city neighborhoods, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The shortage is expected to increase as more primary care physicians retire and fewer medical school students enter primary care. According to Merritt Hawkins & Associates, medical students are staying out of primary care because of the salary disparity between primary care physicians and specialists. For instance, the base average pay for an internist is $176,000 compared with $401,000 for a radiologist.

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Meanwhile, the demand for primary care physicians is increasing as the number of state residents ages 65 and older is projected to double by 2030, according to George Quinn, senior vice president of the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

The report's recommendations for increasing the number of primary care physicians include enrolling students from rural areas; increasing tuition reimbursement programs for physicians who practice in underserved areas; recruiting out-of-state physicians; and increasing the roles of nurse practitioners and physician assistants (Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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