primary care doctors

KOMUnews / Flickr

Dr. Claudia Preuschoff is a pediatrician in Poplar Bluff. She often treats children from rural communities in her area, especially those who may need more than primary care.

“I just had a referral last week from a nurse practitioner in a much more rural area,” Preuschoff said. “The question was 'Do you think this child has autism, and if so what are we going to do about it?'”

According to a study by the CDC, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in the United States more than doubled between 2000 and 2010.

In rural areas - where there are few medical specialists - the increase in identified cases of autism can be especially difficult to manage.

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.

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.