State physician shortage

The Association of American Medical Colleges has released a new report of Mississippi's physician workforce. The gloomy report shows Mississippi to be 50th in the nation in active patient care physicians per capita. The report also shows 34 percent of the existing active care physicians in Mississippi are over 60 years old, so this gap with the rest of the nation is likely to get worse.

There are some positives: Mississippi had the third highest increase in student MD enrollment. We were fourth in the nation in physicians retained in state after being graduated from medical school. And we were ninth in the nation in medical students matriculating in state. Also, Mississippi was 26th in the nation of active surgeons per capita.

This data should encourage state officials to continue efforts to expand our medical school enrollment, which has made great strides in recent years. In addition, we need to aggressively expand the use of telemedicine to better deploy the few primary care physicians that we currently have.

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