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National Doctor Shortage Felt Locally

Nationwide Doctor Shortage Felt Locally

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - There is a severe national doctor shortage and it is being felt in Idaho.

The main reasons behind the shortage are so many physicians are retiring or will be within the next 10 years, and many newer doctors are wanting to practice in bigger markets instead of small towns.

So the shift then comes down to local hospitals to recruit and retain physicians.

"I don't know that any are easy to bring in," said Coleen Neimann, the marketing and community relations manager at EIRMC.

Neimann said physician recruitment is a top hospital priority.

"Especially because we area regional healthcare hub in the community and we need to make sure we have specialties of a wide range," said Niemann.

In the past five years, EIRMC has recruited 79 physicians. With the addition of new services, Neiman said they have had to bring in specialty doctors.

"With the growth in our neonatal intensive care unit we've recruited quite a few neonatologists," said Niemann

Some type of doctors are easier to find than others.

"There are four areas that are particularly hard to fill in our area, and those are pulmonolgy, neurology, internal medicine and family practice."

Mountain View Hospital also said they are seeing the same trends.

"Some specialties are harder to recruit because of our location," said Cherie Webster, physician relations manager at Mountain View Hospital.

Location is one of they key factors physicians consider, the small town feel of east idaho may be a reason to move here for one doctor, but a turn off for another.

"Physicians we have found are coming back home, they are from southeast Idaho," said Webster.

"The doctors that end up coming here are those that like the lifestyle that this area provides, they are the outdoorsmen, the campers, so that appeals to them," said Niemann.

The cost of medical school is also another big factor of why young doctors are not choosing medicine.

The highest demand in 2014 is for primary-care physicians, like general internists, family doctors, and pediatricians, that's according to the association of American Medical Colleges.

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