WHA Report: Physician shortage in Wis. - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

WHA Report: Physician shortage in Wis.

MADISON (WKOW) -- A new report, released Tuesday by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, raises concerns that a physician shortage could cause hang ups for health care in Wisconsin.

The WHA report says actions must be taken to reduce the shortage, like increasing recruitment of doctors from other states.

While the need for more family medicine physicians is universal, there are now areas in Wisconsin where specialists are in short supply, and things could get worse.

The state's two medical schools graduate nearly 350 students a year, but less than 40 percent of those stay in Wisconsin. Officials say they must bring in more than 700 out-of-state physicians every year, to keep up with demand.

The report says Wisconsin must recruit 100 or more doctors, or the state will fall behind the demand, causing longer waits, particularly in rural or inner city areas.

To improve the situation, researchers suggest Wisconsin's medical schools should offer loan forgiveness to med students, who often graduate with $160-180,000 of debt.

"You can forgive that debt in return for practicing in a certain area for a certain period of time. It will go a long way towards providing an incentive for that physician to stay and practice," says George Quinn, lead author of the WHA report.

Quinn says we should look to our future generation in Wisconsin, to encourage more young people to study medicine here in the state.

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