State Survey Shows Critical Need for Health Professionals
The Virginia Department of Health Professions says the state will face a critical need for doctors and other health professionals in the coming years. Charles Fishburne reports.
Virginia doctors are disappearing.
Reynolds: We know for sure there will not be enough physicians to go around.
Dr. Diane Reynolds Kaine is Director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions and has been reviewing their last biennial survey.
Reynolds: Our medical schools now graduate in excess of 700 students annually, and we know we're gonna need twice that number.
Virginia spends 50 million dollars from the General Fund to support medical education, but the problem is not just graduating more doctors, it's keeping the ones we have.
Reynolds: I can say for sure less than 25% of our medical graduates stay in Virginia, and so you want to look at incentives to keep your docs here.
The study looks at other health care professionals and other solutions: technology, medical records, telemedicine, larger faculties at medical schools, more responsibility for nurses and physicians assistants, but she says it comes down to public policy, involving money and regulation, and public perception that the need is already here.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News