Lansing, Michigan (WLNS) – This is called the primary care crisis: the shortage of family doctors in Michigan.
What is being done to fix the problem?
Michigan is hosting Family Medicine Week, and one of the main topics under discussion is the shortage of primary care physicians. Doctors discussed with us which communities were affected and how the state plans to address the shortcoming.
Jennifer Alaff of Midland Family Physicians said: “If we don’t eliminate the deficit we are experiencing here in Michigan, it will be even worse. We know that currently three million Michigan residents do not have access to primary care. “
But greater government funding for the my-doc program would expand the number of residency programs, which would help keep young doctors in the state.
Another program could benefit from the investment.
David Leak, program director, vice chairman of education and professor of family medicine at William Beaumont Medical School, said: “The Michigan loan repayment program. And this program helps employers recruit and then retain primary care physicians in areas that are underserved. And they are doing it, helping to reduce the debt in medical schools. “
Public funding may be needed significantly for these programs, especially where it is most needed: inland cities.
And access to mental health will be included. Carlin Ketola is the executive director of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians. It focuses on engaging medical students in family practice.
Ketola said: “So far we are looking at these creative solutions and working with doctors who practice in these rural communities to see and mentor and hopefully raise the next generation of family doctors in these areas.”
And data show that people who visit the doctor regularly are healthier and live longer.
Aloff added: “When I first started practicing 20 years ago in my practice, I looked at my schedule and said what should I do today? And now I look at my schedule and say, who do I see today? And that’s really what primary care is all about. “It’s knowing our patients, knowing their families, building these long-term relationships. And we are embarking on this journey of health with our patients and their families. ”
Now, according to experts, the main reason for the deficit – is wages. Primary care physicians tend to earn less money than other physicians. This new government funding could help fix that.