Experts Say Physician Shortage Acute in State’s Inland Empire Region
Health care experts say California faces an acute shortage of physicians, especially in the Inland Empire area, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
According to the Press-Enterprise, it can be difficult to attract new physicians to the Inland Empire area, which has an estimated one million uninsured residents and about 500,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Details of the Shortage
In California, there are about 170 physicians for every 100,000 individuals, according to a 2009 report from the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
In Riverside County, there are 100 physicians for every 100,000 residents, and San Bernardino County has about 120 doctors for every 100,000 people.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the national average is 220 physicians for every 100,000 people.
Richard Olds, dean of UC-Riverside's proposed medical school, said earlier this year that the Inland Empire area needs an additional 3,000 physicians to serve a growing population that could reach about five million in 2020.
Olds said that as a result of the physician shortage, there are fewer appointments available.
Coping With the Shortage
Clinics and hospitals in the region are finding ways to address with the shortage, such as employing nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can see patients.
Other health care organizations have used telehealth technology to increase access to care by using telehealth to diagnose patients and evaluate treatments (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.