Report Shows Doctor Shortage in NYS Persists

Feb 15, 2013

Credit Tom Tingle / The Arizona Republic

The need for more primary care doctors in Upstate New York is steadily increasing.

According to a study by the Healthcare Association of New York State, or HANYS, the demand jumped from 18% to 31% from year over year.

"I think a lot of that is in recognition of the healthcare implementation and knowing that there's going to be a need for more primary care doctors because that's how the model is kind of rolling out," says Sherry Chorost, the workforce director of HANYS.  "So I'm not very surprised by this."

Chorost says many family doctors are also aging out. She also notes fewer people are going to medical school to become primary care physicians.

"In some ways it's a status thing," Chorost says. "In other ways, it's what’s they're being paid. They don't make nearly as much as a specialists. If they come out of medical school with a lot of debt, you're going into primary care, making less money makes them less able to pay back their debt. People think of it as being far busier for less money and people want quality of life."

Chorost says  medical programs in New York City are working to attract more primary care physicians with new training curriculums.

The data shows more than 12,000 doctors are needed statewide, a third of those are family doctors.

The HANYS report surveyed about 110 Upstate hospitals.