Health Center News

New Report: Not Enough Primary Care Doctors Where They Are Needed

atransformedA new study released today finds there aren’t enough primary care doctors and nurses at health centers to meet the need, with some areas having almost none – a situation that cannot be solved just by expanding health insurance coverage. ACCESS TRANSFORMED finds the availability of a primary care workforce depends on where you live, and primary care clinicians are not located in areas that need them most, especially low-income communities. The study was conducted by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), the Robert Graham Center and George Washington University. “The primary care workforce situation is one of the biggest policy challenges facing the U.S. health care system today, but too often the debate is mostly about expanding health insurance,” said Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs of NACHC. “If every American alive today had health insurance, millions still wouldn’t be able to access the primary care that ensures better overall health and reduces health care costs. That’s because provider locations and career choices don’t match up to the need. If we want to fix our health care system, we need to be having the right conversation.” The report comes on the heels of reports that ER visits jumped more than 32 percent– from 90.3 million in 1996 to 119 million in 2006, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.