MASSACHUSETTS IS ARGUABLY home to the best hospitals, doctors, and medical research institutions in the world. The best and brightest attend our medical schools and many will subsequently live and practice in the Commonwealth. Yet, when it comes to the foundation of our healthcare system, our primary care physicians, Massachusetts has an overlooked and worsening access problem.

Right now, according to the state's Department of Public Health (DPH), there are 107 Massachusetts cities and towns with zero primary care physicians. That's 30 percent of the state's municipalities. Add in the 38 municipalities that meet the baseline federal criteria for Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) for primary care physicians and 41 percent of the state has little to no convenient access to primary care physicians. As a result, in rural and underserved areas across the state, patients struggle to access convenient and timely primary care, making it harder to access preventive care and stay healthy. This also makes it increasingly difficult for our state to contain health care costs in a system that is restructuring to rely more heavily on primary care....

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Written by Past President Kami Phillips, MD

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