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Study forecasts state physician shortage in 2014

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 4, 2013

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The state of New York may not have enough physicians in 2014 to take care of the newly insured individuals under Affordable Care Act coverage expansions, the Healthcare Assn. of New York State concluded in a physician survey that polled 110 facilities outside New York City.

The survey estimated that more than 1,200 physicians are needed across the state. About a third of this needed supply is for primary care doctors, although the state would benefit from having more specialty physicians as well. The association represents hospitals and health systems.

“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,” said HANYS President Daniel Sisto in a statement. “New York state must have a comprehensive strategy to address this shortage and ensure all New Yorkers have access to care.”

The shortage has caused more than 30% of New York’s facilities to reduce or eliminate services, according to the association. Most of the survey respondents north of New York City reported that they have had to transfer patients to other hospitals due to lack of specialty coverage in their emergency departments.

To attract more doctors to the state’s underserved areas, HANYS said it supports the state health department’s creation of a primary care office as well as redesigning the Medicaid program. In addition, “more programs, such as Doctors Across New York, must be appropriately funded,” Sisto said. That state initiative trains and places physicians in New York, including in its underserved communities.

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