As more become insured, medical schools looking to turn out more doctors

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With millions of people expected to get health insurance, it should mean more doctors but that might not be the case. One Valley medical school is doing what it can to keep up with the demand.

“This isn't a shortage in 15 years, this is a shortage that's happening today,” said Doctor Lori Kemper.

As the number of people insured expands under the new federal health-care law the number of doctors treating them could decline.
“By 2013 when the new legislation would start to kick in and we start to have a large number of people added to the roles of insured, we will have a substantial crisis,” Kemper continued.

Kemper is also the dean of the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the nation may be short by as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years. The greatest demand is expected to be for primary-care physicians.

“We need to make sure at the medical school level, that the students have access to mentors who are more primary care because the first entry level shortage will be at the primary care doctors office,” Kemper said.

She said Midwestern is doing its part to get more students into the field of medicine. They've not only seen a rise in enrollment, but Kemper believes creating residency programs is key to keeping new doctors here in Arizona.

“We have expanded a lot of effort to start new residency programs in hospitals,” Kemper said. “This is the single thing we have to do something about to train our home grown doctors in their post-graduate training, so that they stay here and practice and take care of our citizenship.”

Midwestern University students Hillary Hughes and Anthony Carnell, who are both considering going into the primary-care arena, agree something needs to be done to get more people into this field.

“Preventive medicine is definitely the future and it's going to be extremely important, if there is a shortage of doctors and most importantly primary care physicians,” Carnell said. “Those that are out there now, need to be prepared to do the preventive type of medicine.”

“I think as medicine changes, it's going to be getting away from a kind of high money making, high roller type of profession to people that is really getting into it for the right reasons.” Hughes said.

A need to make sure there are no more lines at the doctor's office.