April 14, 2024 1:06 pm
Search
Close this search box.

Local News

Tackling Georgia’s Doctor Shortage with Osteopathic Medicine

iStock

Shanteya Hudson, Producer

Thursday, June 22, 2023   

In Georgia, hospital consolidations, coupled with a dwindling workforce of primary-care physicians, has caused growing gaps in access to care for people in many areas of the state.

Osteopathic medicine is on the rise, and it may be one way to address the challenge. Osteopathic doctors are trained to focus on a patient’s lifestyle factors and prevention of disease and injuries.

Dr. Robert Cain, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, said their schools and residencies are already targeting the needs of rural areas.

“Georgia would need another 700 primary care doctors just to try to eliminate its shortage,” Cain pointed out. “Over time, focused on graduating the right people with those schools located in the right settings, we begin to address that particular shortage.”

Cain noted osteopathic medical students make up 25% of future physicians in the country, with a projection the number will grow to one-third by 2030.

Georgia ranks low when it comes to meeting primary care needs at a statewide level, with only 40% of needs met, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. In addition, one-third of Georgians live in areas with limited primary care access.

Cain stressed recruitment in osteopathic medicine around the country must also continue to be a focus to improve access.

“Our DO schools have shown themselves to be high producers of primary care physicians who stay in the state where they are trained,” Cain asserted. “Our philosophy is sort of draw from the local area, train in the local area, and then try to keep them in the local area.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a 2021 study predicted the U.S. will face a doctor shortage of between 37,000 and 124,000 physicians by 2034. 

This story first appeared in Public News Service, a member-supported news site to engage, educate and advocate for the public interest.

Georgia Legislature approves coverage to help first responders cope with job-related PTSD treatment

The Ashley Wilson Act, named for Gwinnett police sergeant Ashley Wilson, passed unanimously in the Georgia House of Representatives, aiming to provide supplemental health insurance for first responders diagnosed with PTSD due to on-the-job experiences. This landmark legislation, celebrated for its potential to significantly aid in the recovery and support of traumatized first responders, reflects a broader recognition of PTSD’s serious impact on public safety personnel, promising financial and treatment support beginning January 1, 2025.

FAFSA delays pose challenges for Georgia college-bound students

Students across Georgia are facing delays in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, particularly challenging due to its late January rollout and additional complications for mixed-status families. Despite these setbacks, the Department of Education has implemented fixes for major issues, and officials, including MorraLee Keller of the National College Attainment Network, urge students not to give up on securing financial aid for college.