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Kansas uses various tools to fight doctor shortage

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Efforts to maintain the availability of a country doctor began more than a half-century ago when the University of Kansas chancellor sought to lure new physicians through a new tuition program.

Those techniques are getting more creative as Kansas struggles like much of the nation to keep up with the demand for providers as health care coverage expands.

Nationally, an Associated Press review finds doctors are preparing for backlogs, and patients could find it difficult to get quick appointments as more Americans gain access to coverage.

A report by the American Association of Medical Colleges found that as of 2010 there were 2,387 active primary care physicians in Kansas, or 84 doctors for every 100,000 residents. Further, the report found that 26 percent of the physicians were over age 60.