Hawaii's physician shortage grew 20 percent during past year - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's physician shortage grew 20 percent during past year

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's doctor shortage is getting worse.

According to figures from the University of Hawaii's medical school, the current shortage of 890 is expected to jump as high as 1,500 by 2020.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday the current shortage is up nearly 20 percent from 742 in 2013.

The medical school's Area Health Education Center is trying to find ways to deal with the issues that make practicing medicine in Hawaii difficult, including administrative burdens and the state's high cost of living.

Center researcher Kelly Withy says the shortage is especially problematic on the neighbor islands, where residents aren't getting prompt treatment for serious diseases such as cancer.

She says that on the Big Island, it can be two to three times harder to find a primary care physician.

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