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Think Out Loud

Revisiting the Rural Doctor Shortage


Cascade East Rural Family Medicine Residency Program opened in 1993 to prepare physicians to treat patients in rural areas. The Klamath Falls program has held onto about 25 percent of its approximately 80 graduates. The program’s director says that isn’t bad, considering that many other grads are practicing in other rural areas throughout the country.

There are a host of reasons doctors tend to gravitate toward urban centers. Rural doctors make less money, have fewer loan repayment incentives to practice in small clinics and don’t usually enjoy the same amenities many cities provide.

Think Out Loud took on this topic in 2008. While some things have changed — including a new law that will help fund help continue funding for liability insurance for medical professional practicing in rural regions — a shortage persists.

Do you live in a rural region? What are some barriers to your health care? Are you a doctor? What would it take for you to practice in a rural area?

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