Doctor drought looms in Oregon

The doctor shortage is expected to get worse, in Oregon and across the country.

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The Association of American Medical Colleges is predicting a shortage of 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years.

And Henry Veldman, regional vice president of PeaceHealth Medical Group in Eugene, predicts that 300,000 of the 800,000 licensed physicians in America will retire within the next five years or so.

More patients and fewer doctors could lead to longer wait times and shorter doctor visits.

Veldman says with millions of more people having insurance under recently passed health care reform, access will be even harder. He says PeaceHealth is looking into “team-based” medicine. “So you have the physician, you have some nurses, you have health coaches and we see that as a way to combat the coming physician shortage,” he says.

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