The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

July 22, 2013

Doctor dearth

State must be able to attract enough doctors to serve population

When Medicaid is expanded next year, some fear there may not be enough doctors in West Virginia to care for its patients.

They’re probably correct.

In fact, there are many that believe there is already a shortage of doctors in our state.

The way it’s set up now, this will only exacerbate the problem.

Evan Jenkins, executive director of the West Virginia State Medical Association, recently suggested that most doctors who accept Medicaid limit the number of patients they see, which will make it difficult for low-income patients to find a primary care physician.

That’s a huge problem in a state that is aging and among the most dependent on services such as Medicaid.

If the prediction of an increased doctor shortage comes about, and there’s every reason to think that it’s right on the button, the health of our citizens will suffer.

More incentives must be explored to entice doctors to locate here or to stay here following medical school.

Medicaid reimbursements paid to doctors are less than those paid by private health care insurance or Medicare. Jenkins warned: “I’m not aware of any medical practice that could survive financially, solely on a Medicaid patient population. There’s only so many hours in the day and so many patients you can see.”

Our state faces an October deadline to have a Medicaid expansion plan in place under the federal Affordable Care Act. A 600-page document, containing rules from the federal government, was released earlier this month.

It gives an outline on how to proceed with expansion.

While expansion of health care is generally great news, without enough doctors to meet the need, any benefit will be slow to be realized.

Our hope is that a plan to help West Virginia take care of its citizens will be implemented — and soon.

Because without a solid plan, especially one that will draw and keep doctors in our state, we’re no better off than before expansion.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 080414 FT science plume.jpg Rousing conclusion to summer reading program

    The Lively Family Amphitheater turned into one big science laboratory Tuesday.

     

    August 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • ee 1.jpg Energy Express makes impact on students’ lives

    Energy Express to him, Matt White says, is all about a “different experience.”

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • maurices Fostering Self-Esteem

    The local Maurices is involved in a project aimed at making the school transition a little easier this fall for foster children in the area.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Children’s Health and Safety Fair scheduled for August 1

    Montgomery General Hospital and Dr. Traci Acklin have announced that the 2014 Children’s Health and Safety Fair will be held on Friday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Theater to hold auditions

    Open auditions are set for Tuesday and Thursday at the Historic Fayette Theater for the comedy/drama “Belongings”. Auditions will be held at the theater in Fayetteville at 7 p.m. each evening.

    July 21, 2014

  • asb carver 25 years and counting

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taylor Made Free concert series

    The next free public concert in the Lively Family Amphitheater Summer Concert Series is a performance Saturday at 6 p.m. by popular band Taylor Made.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Energy Express open house set

    Energy Express, an award-winning summer reading program serving 35+ children in Fayette County, will host a free open house for members of the Beards Fork SALS community. The event takes place on Thursday, July 24, at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    July 17, 2014

  • rhody1.jpg Stages of life

    July 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • thurmond depot.jpg Explore town’s rail heritage

    Discover what life was like in one of the New River Gorge’s most renowned towns as you join National Park Service rangers and Operation Lifesaver on Saturday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to explore the historic railroad town of Thurmond.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo