Persistent shortage of primary care, specialist physicians found in New York state
ALBANY, N.Y. — A new report indicates that a shortage of physicians could adversely affect the implementation of healthcare reform.
Calling the shortage "persistent," the Healthcare Association of New York State found that more than 1,200 physicians are needed statewide, excluding New York City, and nearly one third of that need is for primary care doctors. The finding was based on HANYS' 2012 physician advocacy survey, which HANYS developed in collaboration with the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association and the Western New York Healthcare Association.
"As thousands of New Yorkers are expected to gain health insurance coverage during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, our hospitals and health systems already indicate a dramatic need for primary care physicians throughout the state," HANYS president Daniel Sisto said. "New York state must have a comprehensive strategy to address this shortage and ensure all New Yorkers have access to care."
Sisto said that while his group supports initiatives like the state Department of Health's creation of the Office of Primary Care and the Medicaid redesign process, more programs, such as Doctors Across New York, must be appropriately funded to attract the hundreds of physicians needed in under-served areas. Meanwhile, physicians across all specialties continue to be needed as well, as 32% of healthcare facilities have had to either reduce or eliminate services due to the shortage, and 75% of respondents north of New York City indicated that emergency departments sometimes had no coverage for certain specialties, resulting in a need to transfer patients to other hospitals.