Health is a human right, and healthcare is a moral duty of the states to be provided to each and every citizen.
But this is not the case in the rural region of America. According to the report issued by Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, there is a shortage of approximately 15-20 thousand of doctors across the country, causing crisis especially in rural America.
“I just can’t physically take care of the many people here, we turn people away every single day”
We discern the catastrophe by case studying the working pattern of doctors appointed in the rural areas. Dr. Isabel Melena is one such doctor who faces hectic work schedule, assisting patients one after another, by herself. Around 15 thousand patients rely on her and two other doctors in that region. Some have to travel around 40 minutes to see Dr. Melena, which is enough to evoke the government to take action. “I just can’t physically take care of the many people here, we turn people away every single day”, she confesses.
Among thousands of physicians nationwide, very few professionals like Dr. Melena are there to work in the rural areas and serve them.
Medical schools have started taking action to bring down the crisis. However, Dr. Atul Grover from Association of American Medical Colleges provided a figure that over the next ten years the shortage of physicians will reach to hundreds of thousands.
Medical schools are taking actions to constraint the shortage by boosting their activities by 18% since 2002. In the meantime, they have introduced accelerated programs and financial spur. One such college is School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Science Centre (TTUHSC). Keeley Ewing-Bramblett, an undergraduate of the School of Medicine, TTUHSC stated: ”when they offered accelerated track, where I could get out sooner and be doing what I love for years, for me, it’s kind of a no-brainer.” These steps may be helpful in the long run but do not prove to be effective instantaneously. Even if students like Keeley graduated at a faster pace, they still need to undertake the residency program to be a profound doctor.
The base of the crisis is the gap that we created between medical school graduate and the available residency position as cited out by Dr. Atul. If we look into the past, the base of the crisis was built when the Congress cut funding to hospitals in 1997. This proved drastic for the hospitals as they counted on that money to upskill young doctors.
Representatives, Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) and Aaron Schock (R-IL) have introduced “Training Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act” that addresses both short, and long-term demand of doctors by increasing the residency positions. This act will act as the panacea and reverse the crisis. It is estimated that the bill will generate a surplus of around 15 thousand federally funded residency positions in a 5 years term, which in turn will bring down the physician’s shortage by one-third. Rural people will get relief once all the measures taken by the medical schools and the Congress give a fruitful outcome. Once there are enough physicians, the blank spaces will involuntarily get filled.
Dr. Buz Cooper associated with NY Institute of Technology Healthcare Workforce CTR stated that physicians are closer to urban centers, eventually left the rural area underserved.
The services given by doctors like Dr. Melena are appreciable and this is the time when we need to introduce various medical programs that relieve the doctors working in rural areas as well as the rural people.