Competition for a shrinking pool of qualified primary care doctors is hurting states that have a hard time recruiting against higher paying markets. For Vermont, the lure of a high quality of life isn’t quite enough it seems.
The reasons for the doctor shortage, which has been gradually worsening over the years, are well documented. Much of the problem boils down to money. Medical students who opt to specialize rather than enter primary care practices stand to make significantly more because specific procedures earn higher reimbursements than generalized care and diagnoses. For medical students leaving school with debt loads often topping $150,000, the decision to enter primary care practice often means a degree of financial hardship, according to survey-based research conducted in Vermont and nationwide.