Riba in “Michigan is facing a shortage of primary care doctors. Where does that leave patients?”

October 16, 2019 | Lansing State Journal

In many communities, the shortage of primary care doctors is becoming an increasingly serious concern. Among these areas is Lansing, Michigan, where a shortage of primary care physicians has resulted in long wait times and difficulty accessing healthcare.

Melissa Riba on shortage of primary doctors“… the length of time it takes people to get into primary care. I think that’s a real issue.”

Melissa Riba

Carol Thompson of the Lansing State Journal notes that according to CHRT Research and Evaluation Director Melissa Riba, “over 80 percent of Michigan’s primary care doctors indicated they could take new patients” and 87 percent of patients “said they could get primary care fairly easily.” However, Thompson notes “Physicians might say they can accept new patients, but that doesn’t mean they can accept them soon.”

Riba has heard similar anecdotes of patients who say they struggle to find a doctor to suit their healthcare needs, and “[W]hatever shortage patients feel now likely will get worse within the decade.,” writes Thompson. The article goes on to point out “In CHRT’s Michigan Physician Survey, about 45 percent of the physicians surveyed indicated they would retire and close their practices within 10 years.”

It is evident that the shortage of primary care doctors in Lansing, Michigan presents a significant challenge to residents seeking health care. Long wait times and difficulty accessing health services can delay diagnoses and give poorer health outcomes. It is encouraging to see that efforts are being made to address the shortage. Primary care doctors play a major role in providing preventive care, managing chronic conditions, and coordinating medical care. To improve healthcare outcomes for all residents, we must address the shortage of these healthcare professionals.