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Health care reform could be done in by a doctor shortage, a new Healthcare Association of New York State study concludes.
The HANYS study surveyed the state’s health care providers for a snapshot of trends in New York’s physician population in 2012. With full implementation of Affordable Care Act insurance mandates slated to begin in 2014, primary care physicians are in increasingly short supply in the state, it found. HANYS rated the Rochester region to be in need of 44 primary care doctors.
A 2009 Monroe County Medical Society and Finger Lakes Health System Agency survey of Rochester-area doctors found that this area’s primary care physician numbers had been relatively stable between 2004 and 2009 and that the region physician population was higher than the national average. But it also warned that an aging cohort of area physicians with 19 percent of area doctors then 60 or older could leave the region short of physicians.
HANYS’ 2012 survey found that the state’s doctor recruitment is not keeping up with demand. Survey respondents reported bringing on 2,339 doctors last year but losing 2,283 for a net decrease of 130.
Statewide, New York’s 2012 primary care physician shortfall of 374 doctors represented or 31 percent of its total physician need, up from 18 percent in 2011, HANYS found. Roughly 56 percent of respondents rated primary care physician recruitment as difficult or very difficult. Aging of the primary care workforce and shortages of primary care physicians were among top reasons cited for recruitment difficulties.
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