New Mexico faces shortage of primary care providers | KOB 4
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New Mexico faces shortage of primary care providers

Megan Abundis
May 22, 2019 06:57 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — According to the UNM Health Sciences Center, New Mexico is suffering from a shortage of primary care providers.

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"We are in a constant state either trying to produce or recruit healthcare providers," said Dr. Richard Larson, the executive vice chancellor at UNM Health Sciences Center. "We have a shortage of doctors, a severe shortage of nurses." 

Larson said that the northwest and southeast portion of the state show the greatest deficiencies.

He said New Mexico needs at least 3,600 more nurses just to reach the national benchmark, as well as 147 more nurse practitioners and 126 more primary care physicians. 

"Eddy, Lea and Otero County have the greatest shortage of primary care physicians," Larson said. 

Data also shows that general surgeons are needed in San Miguel, Torrance and Valencia Counties. 

INCENTIVES

Larson said the only way to address shortages in rural counties is to expand incentives and include other types of physicians. He said that they have tried to ask lawmakers for money every year since 2013 – but it hasn't worked.

"We are certainly hoping that in the next session the legislature and the governor will be sympathetic to the recommendation," he said. 

UNM clinic officials said there is some good news: they have been able to get more gynecologists into rural areas. Also, when students complete their residency in New Mexico, about 60% stay and practice in the state. 

Credits

Megan Abundis

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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