Healthcare
8:00 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

Texas: Is Increased Funding for Physician Shortage a Solution?

Plastic surgery residents Dr. Kristi L. Hustak, left, and Dr. Surjit S. Rai, center, checking a patients skin graft with the Faculty Plastic Surgeon Dr. John Bauer, right, at UTMB's John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Monday, August 19, 2013.
Credit Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers increased funding to address the shortage of physicians reported The Texas Tribune.  The medical community has doubts the addition is a long term solution.  “Nobody wants to see this pendulum swing, where there’s money for this biennium and no money the next biennium,” said Dr. David Wright, chairman of the Texas Medical Association’s education committee. “There has to be a better, more stabilized funding mechanism for all of this.”

In 2014, there will be more medical students graduating that there are first year residency slots in the state.  Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, sees that as another issue.  “If they are forced to do their residency training outside of Texas because we don’t have enough slots, they take that investment with them,” she said.  Nelson sponsored $16 million legislation in the last session to expand residency programs in the state. 

It’s not just Texas facing the shortage.  The problem is nation wide, but Texas is short of primary care physicians right now.  126 of its 254 counties do not have enough primary care doctors, and most of those counties are rural.