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Survey: Mass. Primary Care Docs In Short Supply

This article is more than 6 years old.

A new report finds that Massachusetts continues to experience a critical shortage of primary care physicians and geographical disparities in the hiring and retention of doctors.

But on a more positive note, the annual Physician Workforce Study by the Massachusetts Medical Society also found a growing number of doctors willing to embrace cost-saving techniques such as accountable care organizations.

Massachusetts Medical Society President Ronald Dunlap says it's the eighth consecutive year the survey has found critical or severe shortages in family medicine and internal medicine, the two primary care specialties.

"Twenty, 30 years ago, people would love to stay here because it's such a great region, most people would take a discount to stay in Massachusetts," Dunlap said. "But more recently we're less competitive. So we train more residents than any other area but we retain fewer of them than we have in the past."

About three-quarters of physicians surveyed in western Massachusetts cited difficulty in recruiting doctors to join their practices, and about half said they struggled to retain staff that was hired.

By contrast, only 18 percent of respondents in Greater Boston said they had trouble filling vacancies.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on September 18, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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