Georgia’s physician shortage continues to limit patients’ access to care, especially in rural areas, a recently released report indicates. But the report by the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce also highlights some promising trends on doctors practicing in Georgia.
Physician assistants can help ease the shortage of primary care physicians, according to a study released earlier this month. But Georgia also has a shortage of PAs. With that gap in mind, the Georgia campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine said recently that it plans to open a physician assistant program.
Doctors’ career choices affect many people. Despite a nationwide demand for more family medicine doctors, medical students in Georgia and around the country still pursue specialties and subspecialties for their careers. The number of medical students considering primary care training, including family medicine, general pediatrics and general internal medicine, is falling. But at the same time, the need for such physicians is growing.
A northeast Georgia health care system has announced that it will begin planning for a new graduate medical education program at its hospital in Athens. St. Mary's Health Care System made the decision to add a residency program after years of study.
Georgia’s only public medical school reported this week that a record number of students applied to the Augusta campus this year, while new numbers showed Georgia’s doctor shortage is not improving. Still, a popular medical school could eventually mean more doctors in the state.
Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta is expanding its teaching in southeast Georgia. Starting next year, 20 third- and fourth- year medical students will be able to live in the region and finish their educations at hospitals in Savannah, Statesboro, Brunswick and Waycross. The move is aimed addressing a shortage of health care professionals in Georgia.
A new University System of Georgia committee focused on boosting medical residencies in the state met for the first time this week. Its goal is 400 new residency slots to help address a shortage of thousands of doctors in the coming years in Georgia.
Meeting this week, a Board of Regents committee said the state needs to entice more hospitals to offer residency training for newly graduated doctors. Right now, the state does not have enough slots in its medical residency programs for students completing medical school. So hundreds of would-be doctors have to go outside Georgia to get the training they need. And then they’re much less likely to come back and practice in Georgia, where there is already a shortage of doctors.
When millions of uninsured Georgians join the health insurance rolls under federal health care reform in four years, many of them are going to need a doctor. Getting more doctors through medical school was the focus of a meeting in Savannah between U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and officials from the Savannah campus of Mercer University.