Arizona doctor shortage could get worse with passing of Affordable Care Act
Making sure more Arizonans have health insurance after the passing of Arizona's Affordable Care Act sounds like a good plan, but what if there aren't enough doctors to go around?Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Making sure more Arizonans have health insurance after the passing of Arizona's Affordable Care Act sounds like a good plan, but what if there aren't enough doctors to go around?
Arizona already has a doctor shortage problem, ranking 43rd in the country according to the Association of American Medical College.
With the state expecting to add about 800,000 new patients, your wait time in the doctor's office could get much longer.
University of Arizona Medical Center started a residency program at its south campus six years ago to try to address the doctor shortage.
"We're going to be even further down that line, so we need to increase the number of training slots that we have available to get more physicians in the state," said Dr. Victoria Murrain, the UAMC South Campus assistant dean.
The goal of adding residents at the South Campus location, Murrain said, is to train more doctors in Arizona so they'll stay in Arizona.
The biggest concern now is a lack of primary care doctors, she said.
Sagir Bera is one of the 75 percent of residents at the South Campus location training to become a primary care physician.
"There's actually a good amount of people that love the state of Arizona and would love to be here," Bera said of his residency program. "They know the type of patient population that we have here and the type of care that we can provide here, especially with background and training that we got."
Bera tells 9 On Your Side he hopes to practice medicine in Arizona after completing his residency.
About 50 percent of the UAMC South Campus graduates stay in Arizona, Murrain said. She added she would like that number to be higher.