Report says more doctors needed to avoid statewide shortage

The Wisconsin Hospital Association says the state needs 100 additional doctors every year for the next 20 years to keep up with the aging population and the demand for care to avoid a statewide doctor shortage. The Association says medical students from Wisconsin who go to medical school in Wisconsin and do their residency in the state are much more likely to stick around, and reaching out to those students is key.

George Quinn, the report's lead author, says there is a doctor deficit right now, affecting the inner city of Milwaukee and rural areas. Quinn says the bulk of the shortages are in the areas of primary care, family medicine and pediatrics, as well as psychiatry in rural areas.

The Hospital Association says they're worried some rural areas could fall behind the entire state if they doctors aren't added starting now. They say increasing medical school sizes is crucial, but say it will take a concerted effort among schools, communities and medical providers. "Right now, in the state of Wisconsin, there are openings for about 147 family physicians, and that's a lot of family physicians," Larry Pheifer with the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians said.

The Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians says they may hold a summit to bring health experts together to talk about providing more family care in the state, and improve and increase access to doctors.