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Doctor Shortage Sends Hospitals to War

Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, August 20, 2009

Now extrapolate that to the rest of the country. The number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has dropped nearly 52% since 1997, and other specialties are in short supply in certain areas.

Unfortunately all of the steps being taken to alleviate the problem—increasing primary care reimbursement, exploring different practice models, boosting training—are slow-moving and will take years to make a difference.

That means, like in Massachusetts, hospitals and medical groups around the country will see higher patient demand and have to compete for the same pool of physicians. A lot of hospitals are preparing to go to war over physician recruits; Crowley's just the only one who admitted it.

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Elyas Bakhtiari is a freelance editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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