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The newspaper is one of four organizations in Washington, and the only one on the East Side, to receive a portion of the nonprofit’s $5 million to support local newsrooms. The Spokesman-Review also will receive local support from the Innovia Foundation.
The divide between the health outcomes of urban and rural communities is stark. Access and quality are only part of the issue. The doctors who serve our rural communities are getting older and we are not replenishing the ranks quickly enough.
Pullman Regional Hospital is hoping to establish a family medicine residency program to train doctors in rural health care.
The shortage of rural doctors, especially of primary care physicians, continues to worsen. That is partially due to an imbalance in pay between primary care doctors and specialists. According to Medscape’s 2017 Physician Compensation Report, orthopedists, cardiologists, plastic surgeons and urologists all earn $400,000 or more on average. But pediatricians, internists and family medicine doctors make $225,000 or less.
The nation isn’t supplying enough primary care physicians to meet future demands, and the need is particularly acute in rural communities. The Affordable Care Act provided some assistance, but the aid isn’t permanent and it won’t be enough. Last month, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray introduced a bill to address the shortage.