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Report shows shortage of Michigan primary-care physicians

A doctor with a stethoscope on a young boys naked chest (he's wearing pants though)
user Laura4Smith
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Backers of state funding for physician training say Michigan faces a shortage of 20,000 doctors in the next decade.

A new report by the Citizens Research Council, a public policy research organization, shows that there is a shortage of primary-care physicians across Michigan. 

The report shows that three out of four Michigan counties have physician shortages in at least one primary-care field. 

Primary-care fields include family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, general obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, and psychiatry.

The report says that population growth, an aging population, and Michigan medical students leaving the state are some of the factors contributing to the shortage. 

Nicole Bradshaw is with the Citizens Research Council. 

She says counties in Northern Michigan tend to have more physician shortages than the lower part of the state. 

"Students tend to practice close to the locations where they do their residency, typically within a hundred miles," Bradshaw said. "So there are not a lot of training hospitals in the rural areas." 

However, lower Michigan was not immune to shortages. For example, Cass County had low physician-to-population ratios in every primary-care field. 

Bradshaw says that research suggests that physician shortages can lead to higher prices for services and lower quality of care. 

The report lists a variety of  state policies that could help, including loan forgiveness and working more with universities. 

You can view the full report online for free.  

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