California Primary Care Physician Shortage Affecting Clinics That Serve Minority Populations
A shortage of primary care physicians in California "is driving community clinics to find innovate ways" to provide care to an increasingly linguistically and culturally diverse patient population, New America Media reports. According to New America Media, primary care physicians are in short supply nationwide because many medical students are pursuing more lucrative specialty fields that have higher reimbursement rates.
Marty Lynch -- executive director of LifeLong Medical Care, a not-for-profit primary health care facility that operates nine health centers in Berkeley, Oakland and Marin County -- said he has tried unsuccessfully to hire minority primary care physicians and nurses. Lynch said it is "very difficult to find primary care providers" to provide care for minorities. Meanwhile, the demand for health services is on the rise, Jane Garcia, CEO of La Clinica de la Raza, said. The clinic has provided health services in the Bay Area at 27 satellite clinics for 38 years.
The clinic for the last two years has partnered with neighboring community colleges to train medical assistants to work at their clinics to meet demand for diverse staff. "We're training our own community members," Garcia said. She added that in the current economy, the "silver lining" is that "health care is one of the few sectors that more people will be choosing careers in" (Sundaram, New America Media, 5/18).