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.
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.
According to the Missouri Hospital Association, some 500,000 additional people will enroll in health insurance between now and 2019. That's expected to put some serious strain on the rural health system. Click through for more graphics.
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.