It’s that time of years again: Back-to-school! Amongst the several things that come along preparing for the school year, scheduling a visit with a child’s primary doctor should be at the top of parents’ to-do lists. Most schools require back-to-school immunizations and physical examinations for school sports. For parents, these examinations can also help detect any learning disabilities or mental health concerns a child may have and, if detected early enough, give time to address them prior to the start of the school year. As summer vacation comes to an end, now is the perfect time for parents to schedule back-to-school visits for their children.
Typically, a primary care physician (PCP) will perform a child’s physical examination; however, the United States is experiencing a decline in the number of practicing PCPs. With a higher number of medical students and young professionals seeking employment with hospitals and large medical groups, there has been a drop in the number of practicing primary care physicians.
According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) are designations used to identify certain areas and population groups within the United States that are experiencing a shortage of health professionals, and must have a population-to-provider ratio of at least 3,500 to 1. There are currently three main categories of HPSA designations: primary medicine being number one, and dental and mental health following. For more information regarding these areas and how each individual state is affected, click here.
As a result of the physician shortage, requests for locum tenens physicians have risen, and primary care physicians are a common request by outpatient facilities and private practices. Locum tenens assignments allow facilities to cover their bottom line and PCPs practice medicine without daunting administrative burdens and paperwork. Along with the benefits of working locums, such as a flexible work schedule and extra income, travel and accommodation costs are typically covered by a staffing agency! This means that physicians can travel to provide care where it’s needed most. While the primary care shortage is a nationwide problem, Florida, California, Illinois, and Texas are states with the highest number of HPSA designations and the lowest percentage of needs met.
If you are a primary care provider looking for locums tenens assignments, visit Interim Physicians.