Health Care

Shortage of Primary Care Physicians Pushes Shifts in Medical Care

No relief in sight


Dr. Michael Kelleher, Reliant Medical Group's medical director for quality and patient safety and interim chief medical officer, sees Massachusetts as ahead of the curve in unmasking a medical crisis: the looming shortage in adult primary care.

Since the state passed a health reform law in 2006 mandating health insurance coverage, demand for internal medicine and family practice physicians to manage office-based patient care has soared.

At the same time, the supply of primary care physicians — particularly those seeing adults — has shrunk as a result of relatively lower pay and high medical school debt, heavy schedules and attractive options in other types of care.