Urgent shortage of primary care physicians in California
Two-thirds of California is experiencing a shortage of doctors, according to the Huffington Post. Almost 30 percent of California’s physicians are above the age of 60, and the problem may well be getting worse. More doctors are close to retirement in California than in any other state in the country.
There is also a cultural component to the issue. Californian Latinos, for example, comprise over 35 percent of the state’s population – but only 5 percent of our physicians. Furthermore, patients and providers often have better exchanges when the patient can relate more readily to the physician. This relation can further increase the quality of primary care.
However, there are a limited few areas in California which meet the US Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation of 85-100 specialists for every 100,000 people. These include the Greater Bay Area, the Sacramento Area, and Orange County. But even these areas’ futures in terms of primary care physicians are not necessarily secure: by 2014, the LA Times reports, the Los Angeles County may have a serious shortage of doctors across the board – even at the coroner’s department. This severe deficiency of physicians is likely to have an effect on Californians in the foreseeable future despite any progress with the health care overhaul.