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May 10, 2016

New York's Primary Care Provider Shortage Threatens Healthcare Reform Success

ALBANY, N.Y.–New York State's primary care provider shortage persists and is likely to grow, threatening the advances of healthcare reform, according to a new report by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS). Where Are the Doctors? confirms the need for a significant increase in primary care physicians across the state.

While HANYS' members provide a tremendous amount of primary care in their communities, hospitals and health systems indicated they do not have the capacity to meet the demand and continue to have difficulty recruiting new primary care physicians.

"As New York fundamentally changes how and where patients receive healthcare by focusing on care coordination and population health, there is a growing need for primary care providers in communities across the state," said HANYS President Dennis Whalen. "In order for healthcare transformation to succeed, we must address this critical demand for primary care."

According to the report—which analyzed the results of HANYS' 2015 Physician Advocacy Survey—84% of respondents indicated that recruitment of primary care doctors is a key strategy for improving access to care in their communities. Seventy-one percent said their current primary care capacity is insufficient to meet current patient needs, with 77% reporting a deficit to meet future needs. HANYS' 2015 Nursing and Allied Professionals Survey Report found a parallel need for more non-physician clinicians to provide primary care in outpatient and community settings.

The primary care physician shortage has been caused by an aging workforce, medical school debt, lower salaries for primary care physicians compared to specialties, and lack of interest in practicing in under-served areas of the state.

To address this shortfall, HANYS recommends expanding the pipeline of primary care physicians likely to work in under-served areas, increased funding for the Doctors Across New York and Primary Care Service Corps programs, using telehealth options to expand outreach of current primary care services, collaboration with the New York State Area Health Education Centers to recruit and retain culturally diverse healthcare providers, and lifting the cap on Medicare support for Graduate Medical Education.

The report also outlines difficulties in recruiting specialties, facility-employed doctor trends, and the challenges facing rural hospitals.

A total of 103 hospitals across the state completed the 2015 Physician Advocacy Survey, conducted in collaboration with Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State, Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, and Western New York Healthcare Association.

Questions?

Melissa Mansfield
Associate Director, Public and Media Relations
(518) 431-7770

The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) is the only statewide hospital and continuing care association in New York State, representing 550 non-profit and public hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and other healthcare organizations.