health care

Shortage of Primary Care Physicians Pushes Shifts in Medical Care

No relief in sight

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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.