College continues to address growing need for primary care doctors, WVUA-TV reports

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act may in turn increase the demand for primary care doctors, and The University of Alabama’s College of Community Health Sciences continues to address that need.

WVUA-TV reported on the College’s main focus on primary care, and College Dean Richard Streiffer, MD, and Jared Ellis, MD, associate director of the Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency, both commented on the current and future needs of the Tuscaloosa community and what that means for the College. 

“In the majority of the world, the primary care work force is 40 to 50 percent of all physicians,” Streiffer said in the WVUA-TV report. “In the U.S. we are at 30 percent and actually shrinking, so we are going in the wrong direction.”

 Ellis said there’s already a high demand for primary care physicians locally.

“Even in Tuscaloosa right now, it’s quite difficult to get an appointment with a primary care doctor,” Ellis said in the report. “There’s a tremendous demand for them, and many of them are overworked and not taking new patients, so we know there’s already a need.”

And with that need increasing, the College will continue to make changes, Streiffer said, though many changes may not be determined until after the Affordable Care Act is in full effect. 

“As more people have access to a physician because they have coverage, it will increase the demand for primary care,” Streiffer said. “We are going to attempt to respond to that. We are looking to expand our programs and doing to more to try and assure that that’s the type of physician that comes out of our programs.”