Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Renewed effort to lure doctors to rural areas faces obstacles

This story is from the Washington Post titled, "Renewed effort to lure doctors to rural areas faces obstacles"

The Obama administration recently invested more than $1 billion from the stimulus and the health-care law into the National Health Services Corps to beef up doctor recruitment.

So, what's the bottom line?  Some people have what it takes to be a small town doctor and others don't. You can't fit a square peg into a round hole (and if you try to force it, things could break).

I know many physicians who have what it takes to be a rural physician. They love it. Others who are only doing it for financial reasons will soon find themselves looking for new jobs or thinking about transitioning into a non-clinical medical career.

What's the solution for all these rural areas? Will financial incentives be enough? I don't think so. We need to come up with a system that will motivate the right people to go into primary care specialties like family medicine and internal medicine. We can't rely on international graduates to fill all the rural needs that are out there. Some of them are great small town docs, but many of them are square pegs being squeezed into round holes and they don't belong in those settings (and they'll tell you that they'd rather be somewhere else).

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