By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
A March survey by the American Hospital Association listed Pennsylvania as one of 18 states (“crisis states”) that are experiencing varying levels of legal and legislative challenges. The associated liability issues are making it difficult for many hospitals within those states to successfully recruit physicians. Even before the survey results were released, Pennsylvania saw significant drops in their numbers of general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons between 1997 and 2002*.
On May 20, Pennsylvania representative Allyson Schwartz introduced the federal ‘Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act’ as a potential solution for the state’s physician recruitment challenges. Schwartz’s bill has more than 100 co-sponsors and has the following goals.
> Establishing grants for physician mentorship programs
> Create annual scholarships of up to $30,000 for medical students who agree to complete a family practice, internal medicine, or pediatrics residency in facilities with the greatest physician staffing needs
> Loan forgiveness for physicians who fill primary care needs in underserved areas
> Raise graduate school education residency caps
> Grants for states to include patient-centered medical homes into Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
> Require Medicare to establish fee-for-service funding for care coordination services such as in patients with chronic illness
The American College of Physicians predicts a national shortage of more than 45,000 primary care physicians by 2025. Locum Job Source offers a wide variety of locum tenens jobs and traveling physician jobs in Pennsylvania, in other “crisis states” including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and throughout the country in all general practice and specialty areas.
*U.S. Bureau of Health Professions/American Medical Association
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.