Georgia doctor shortage will change who provides health care

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Georgia doctor shortage will change who provides health care

States with strictest regulation of nurse practitioners, 2006

1. Alabama

2. Missouri

3. Florida

4. Georgia

5. Illinois

6. Hawaii

7. Massachusetts

8. Michigan

9. North Carolina

10. Maryland

Source: The American Journal for Nurse Practitioners

Georgia is on the verge of a critical shortage of doctors. Health care experts say this shortage may soon make it difficult to see a doctor on your timeline. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is examining reasons for the shortage and how it will transform the way Georgians get medical care.

The physician population in Georgia

Rate per 100,000 population, Rank

Active physicians, 207.0, 41

Active patient care physicians, 179.9, 41

Active patient care primary care physicians, 65.8, 45

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges

Going to a doctor’s office in Georgia will increasingly be an experience that doesn’t actually involve seeing a doctor.

Within just a few years, an emerging doctor shortage in Georgia is expected to be so critical that the only way to provide health care to the state’s growing and aging population will be to rely more than ever on someone in a white coat who is not an M.D.

That will put pressure on Georgia to loosen its tight restrictions on other health care professionals, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Many doctors, however, fear that patient care could be jeopardized if these “mid-level providers” don’t have enough oversight by doctors.

A story in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution explores what this means for patients. Subscribers can read the full story in today’s edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or on the AJC’s iPad app. Subscribe today.

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