doctors

COM SALUD / Flickr

 

Almost 800,000 uninsured Missourians became eligible for coverage through the federal health insurance marketplace earlier this year. As the state continues to consider extending coverage to even more individuals through Medicaid expansion, the need for primary care doctors will increase as well.

Stethoscope
File Photo / KBIA

Thousands of Missourians may have to switch doctors after UnitedHealthcare notified more physicians that they will be removed from the company's Medicare Advantage plan on Sept. 1.

File photo / KBIA

Missouri is facing a shortage of primary care doctors, and the strain could grow as more people soon gain health insurance under the federal health care law.

The state had just under 74 active patient care primary care doctors per 100,000 residents, according to 2010 figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges. That ranked Missouri 35th in the nation and put it behind the national per capita average of more than 79 active primary care doctors per 100,000 residents.

stethoscope
vitualis / Flickr

  The Missouri Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday that would require insurance companies to cover medical services provided electronically if they cover the same service when it is delivered in person.

File photo / KBIA

Recruiting doctors to small towns is a chronic problem. Most places try to lure a physician by rolling out the red carpet with a big salary, a home on a golf course or other cushy perks.

Not so in Ashland, Kan., population 855, where the CEO of a tiny hospital is building a reverse recruitment model based on remote access and problems commonly found in third-world countries.

Lydia Mulvany / KBIA

Health is generally poorer in rural Missouri compared to urban areas, yet there is a distinct shortage of primary care physicians in rural Missouri. KBIA’s Jacob Fenston has reported that the shortage is only expected to worsen over the next ten years as the elderly population expands.

This graphic shows some of these inequalities--click through for more detail.  Created by Lydia Mulvany.