This is a problem in Jefferson County, along with physicians who we hire, and pay top dollar to, only to have them leave within a few years. Expanding use of Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners would be a way to help this supply, since most of the PA’s I’ve met have been at their jobs for years, if not decades. These highly trained staff are often working at half or less of the pay of the physicians they serve under. Getting two for the price of one, and having those people stay for a lot longer time in the community is a win-win situation. The Federal Government seems to have no interest in expanding the supply of physicians, nor opening up the immigration roles to more from foreign countries, many of them, as highly trained if not more so than our own US physicians. We have always had a very chauvinistic attitude towards physicians from other countries. It has not served us well.
Growth projections suggest that Washington will need an additional 1,695 primary-care physicians between 2010 and 2030.
Physician shortages plague vast areas of Washington state. Sixteen of 39 Washington counties are severely underserved, with 10.4 or fewer doctors per 10,000 residents. Rural hospitals and clinics in particular often struggle to attract doctors to their communities.