North Carolina Medical Students – Practice and Retention

Early last week the Wall Street Journal wrote an article on medical schools that can’t keep up with the ever growing demand for health care services as the federal health care law goes into affect.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, over the next 15 years there could be a shortfall of 150,000 doctors in the United States, mainly in the primary-care field.

North Carolina in particular is on the verge of facing decreased access to primary-care physicians as there are approximately 1-1.2 primary-care physicians per 1000 people in the state. Access in the rural eastern and western parts of the state is even less.

There has always been a pay discrepancy between those physicians that specialize and those that go into primary-care. How can we as a medical community encourage medical students who are just beginning their education to consider the practice of primary care? Are would-be primary-care doctors deterred by the high cost of medical school and feel the need to specialize to make more money and pay down debt? And how do we retain doctors who graduate from our medical schools in North Carolina?

Doctors that are practicing now, how would you address the issue?


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