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The anticipated scarcity of primary care physicians may worsen issues for rural communities



Bismarck, North Dakota – A report on the growing physician shortage was produced in 2021 by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

It covered more ground than simply primary care physicians, but it predicts that between 18,000 and 48,000 doctors will be lost in the United States by 2034.

That might lead to even greater issues for small places like New Salem, which don’t have enough coverage already.

Blair Matheson, MD, has over 20 years of experience as a locum tenens physician.

He claimed that he frequently covers medical facilities that are understaffed. He claimed that although there has always been a scarcity of medical professionals in rural areas, things have gotten worse recently.

He claimed that in addition to patients, doctors are also frustrated by it.

By 2025, he predicted, we might lack 200,000 doctors.

“During the pandemic, I was working in a rural hospital in North Dakota. I had a doctor from Idaho call me looking for a bed. He had called 61 hospitals trying to transfer a patient out. So he called me in North Dakota from Idaho, going, ‘Do you have anything? He could not find a bed to send somebody to,” said Dr. Matheson.

Some students are motivated to pursue careers in healthcare because of the dearth of healthcare coverage in places like New Salem.

“You can see that not everybody goes to the doctor’s right away. If there’s something like an accident, sometimes it takes them a little longer to get there,” said Emily Morman.

A few pupils have personal experience with the consequences of delayed medical attention.

It happened to Bridget Kunz after her father got hurt on their farm.

“He was under our cutter, and one of the blades fell on his lip and sliced it open, and you have to get stitches for that. So we did have to come down to the emergency room,” said Kunz.

“One of my kids, she sliced her foot open on something that was in the garbage bag, and we had to drive 30 minutes to get stitches, so I mean, it’s real life, you know? And if we had people who were able to be closer, I think that would make a big difference,” said Lacey Martinson, another nursing student at NDSU.

According to Dr. Matheson, improving working conditions for medical staff and allowing hospitals to accept more medical students are necessary to address the issue of health care coverage.

Many of the health issues that patients are currently facing, according to Dr. Matheson, can be linked to a lack of medical attention during the pandemic.