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NJ Doctor Shortage Worsens [AUDIO]

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Obamacare, millions of additional people will soon have health insurance – and that’s expected to make a doctor shortage in Jersey even worse.

Flickr user ChrisandBlake

Dr. Mary Campagnolo, the President of the Medical Society of New Jersey says it will be harder to find a primary care physician – and other doctors that specialize in certain areas – like special surgery and OBGYN.

“When there’s more people seeking out preventive and chronic disease care,” she says, “There will be some immediate need for expansion of our workforce…Certainly people who go to hospitals always seem to be able to access the care they need for acute problems, but I think it has been more difficult to find a primary care physician to accept new patients into their panels for quite a while.”

Dr. Campagnolo says a big part of the problem is primary care, specialized surgery and OBGYN doctors “tend not to stay in our state because it’s easier to practice and malpractice coverage is less costly in many other states…And also the physicians we do have are aging – and so the average of most physicians in New Jersey is getting higher…We’re coming into a perfect storm where we don’t have the people that we’re training in the younger ages- and they are not staying here and we’re seeing the physician workforce aging.”

She points out one way we could begin to solve the problem is to offer various financial incentives

“We need to figure out ways to attract students that are the best and the brightest to stay in New Jersey,” she says, “and practice the specialties we need – by helping them to pay their debts from school…and we can also look at tort reform, to make it a state that’s more friendly to physicians to practice.”

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