Nevada Doctor Shortages Likely to Get Worse - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada Doctor Shortages Likely to Get Worse

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Are the days of one physician in their own office going to become a thing of the past? Dr. Trudy Larson, the Director of UNR's Community Health Sciences say they may be a casualty of our changing healthcare system.

"To keep up with the demand for healthcare as we take on the national healthcare reform will mean some changes and I think that will be one of them," she says.

When the National Healthcare reform kicks in October it's expected that more than 300,000 Nevadans who have not had coverage before will gain coverage. And attending to so many new patients will create a big need for healthcare resources here. And to date, we are unable to keep up.

Dr. John Packham with UNR's School of Medicine has been studying the situation.

"We are 45th, 46th, even 50th compared to other states when it comes to healthcare resources on a wide range of occupations we just rank poorly," Packham says. "I mean we were at a crisis level before the expansion. And we haven't even been able to keep up with the need from population growth. You throw this many more patients in the mix and we have some hurdles to clear."

Dr. Larson says she sees that doctors will be trained differently and that clinics will reallocate care.

"It will mean different roles for nurses and for physician's assistants. It will mean a need for more technicians and for more business folks to deal with insurance and forms. So it will mean jobs but it will mean change."

Dr. Packham says the answer is in growing our own doctors and medical staff. Getting more through the system and retaining them here. And some of that change has begun.

According to Larson, the class sizes for medical students at UNR are increasing to get more doctors through. And there is a move locally and nationally for doctors to move away from single practices and to band together to share overhead and staff. Something she expects us to see more of as we get closer to October.

Written by Erin Breen 

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