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Prineville's doctor shortage

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High Five
Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Prineville is experiencing a shortage of physicians, with a ratio of about one family doctor for  every 943 citizens.

The shortage mimics a nationwide problem, says CEO of Pioneer Memorial Hospital, Bob Gomes. Specialists get paid much more than family doctors, and it is difficult to recruit physicians to remote, rural areas.

"Probably the main one is that the reimbursements are low, and their costs for school are just as high as for specialists. So, when you get through medical school, and you've got $200,000 in debt, and you can make twice as much becoming a specialist, the economics drive that," Gomes said.

Another reason Gomes sighted has to do with the economy. It is difficult for physicians to sell their homes to facilitate a move. "But there are a number of them coming out of residencies that are looking for the right place and the right fit," he said.

Read more at the Central Oregonian.

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