Been to the doctor lately? You’re fortunate if you have a long-term relationship with a family doctor that allows you to make an appointment.
As The Goshen News reporter Julie Crothers Beer wrote in Sunday’s edition, there is a shortage of specialists and primary care physicians in the Goshen area. There are similar shortages throughout Elkhart, Noble, Kosciusko and LaGrange counties, Indiana and the nation.
THESE SHORTAGES are obviously worrisome. Americans in general, and Goshen residents in particular, have come to expect the best in health care to be available 24/7. We are fortunate to have two fine hospitals, IU Health Goshen and Elkhart General, close at hand. Both hospitals also have many affiliated family physicians and specialists, yet there are still not enough doctors to serve everyone’s needs.
As the Baby Boom generation ages, physicians who specialize in diseases of the aged, are in demand. So too are doctors who care for the children of the Millennials.
SOURCES FOR THAT story tell us that they are actively recruiting doctors, but it’s a tough row to hoe. Doctors serving long-term residencies are doing so in large urban areas, and are reluctant to move after starting their own families.
We are thankful that the staff at IU Health Goshen are making moves to bring more health care to our residents. A new clinic for primary and urgent care is being built and the hospital has partnered with Maple City Health Care Center to expand its services to the former Fourth Freedom Forum building on North Main Street.
As we look down the road, more people will be drawn to Goshen by available jobs. That means even more people will be seeking health care in the future and the health care gap may expand.
This shortage of physicians is certainly a tough problem to solve. We think it will take long-term efforts by hospital leaders in partnership with community leaders to resolve, but because we have two fine hospitals and our local communities are attractive places to live, we believe the problem is not insurmountable.