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Posts tagged: doctor shortage

Understanding Idaho’s Doc Shortage

Since at least 2007, Idaho has ranked near the bottom when it comes to the number of doctors working in the state. The latest available data from the Association of American Medical Colleges ranks Idaho 49th among states.  The Gem State had 184 doctors for every 100,000 people in 2010. Here’s how our surrounding states stack up:
There are many factors that contribute to Idaho’s physician shortage; there is limited access to medical education in Idaho, salaries tend to be lower, and it’s tougher to recruit in rural areas/StateImpact. More here.

Question: Are you affected by Idaho's doctor shortage?

5 More Idaho WWAMI Seats Sought

In an effort to alleviate Idaho’s doctor shortage, the Idaho Board of Education is asking state lawmakers to approve money to pay for five additional students to attend the University of Washington’s medical school in Seattle. Idaho, like Alaska, Montana and Wyoming, does not have its own medical school. Instead, the four states rely on a program known as WWAMI. The program (which sounds like “whammy”) is based at the University of Washington School of Medicine. A certain number of students from each of the four states attend, paying in-state tuition instead of the more expensive out-of-state price. Each participating state helps pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.  One state-sponsored medical student in the WWAMI program costs about $50,000 per year.  Today, Idaho has a total of 80 seats, 20 per year/Emilie Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Do you know someone who used WWAMI funding to become a physician?

Idaho Doctor Shortage Critical

It’s official: Idaho is the riskiest place in America to get sick. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Gem State has the lowest number of active physicians per 10,000 population in America. So if you have a doctor, hang on to him or her for dear life. According to the American Medical Association, 40 percent of Idaho physicians are 55 or older and 21 percent are past retirement age. The Gem State has the sixth-oldest doctor workforce in America. And because of what are likely to be long-term decreases in the amount compensation the federal government pays for Medicare patients, that number is likely to slide further, dramatically and soon/Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes.)

Question: How long have you and your family been going to your current family physician? Are you satisfied with the level of care?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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