Hawaii making progress in addressing ongoing doctor shortage

Hawaii making progress in addressing ongoing doctor shortage

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is making progress in addressing its ongoing doctor shortage, according to the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Hawaii gained a net of 97 doctors in 2015 as opposed to four the year before. The state did lose 45 doctors to retirement, but gained enough to make up for that.

"The physician workforce numbers are looking a little better," said Dr. Kelley Withy, director of the JABSOM Area Health Education Center.

A survey conducted by JABSOM showed that 2,900 doctors are licensed to treat patients in Hawaii.

The current deficit of 500 is the greatest on Oahu, but its impact is most severe on the neighbor islands. The greatest need is for primary care doctors versus specialists.

The survey looked at newly issued physician licenses as well as the number of doctors retiring every year.

JABSOM said it has tried to address the shortage by increasing its class sizes and by expanding outreach programs to attract new health workers.

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