Now we have a new retirement worry: an acute primary care doctor shortage. That will have a big impact on where we choose to spend our retirement years. It is bad news for those of us who are dreaming about escaping the city with its traffic, noise and high property taxes. It has been a tradition shared by many older people in America who have loved the idea of residing in a calmer, warmer place.
Unfortunately,a great number of our doctors don’t share the same dream. They are not settling into small towns. They want the big cities. Why? Bigger cities such as Nashville, offer tremendous opportunities for a practice. There is the culture plus better schools, and all the extras urban life can offer which small towns supposedly do not.
Those of us who are older have been there and done that. We’re ready for a break
Frankly, some of us don’t care if there’s another cute little specialty cupcake bakery around the corner. When you can’t pull out of your driveway and the traffic is so bad it takes 20 minutes to drive three blocks, it’s not fun anymore. And heaven help us all when the final school bell rings for the day releasing an army of texting 16 year-olds into our streets riving up their new wheels.
But there’s another factor. It seems medicare is not paying as much to rural primary care doctors as the beleaguered program pays to urban specialists. What we need are more primary care doctors who can take care of the elderly and other age groups. That’s not coming from our system at the moment.
What we’re being told is that nurse practitioners will be doing a lot of this kind of medical work. That may or may not be a solution. Only time will tell as the experiment on how to deliver medical care amid high costs continues.
Here are some interesting articles about the primary care doctor shortages we are facing.