Minn. faces shortage of primary care doctors

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Primary care physicians are more readily available in Minnesota than most of the country, but experts say the state faces a looming shortage and it’s only partly because of the federal health care overhaul that will extend coverage to around 300,000 uninsured residents.

Minnesota ranks ninth nationally in total active primary care physicians per 100,000 people, with nearly 5,000 doctors to serve nearly 5.3 million people.

People who will gain coverage aren’t the main worry for Mark Schoenbaum of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Minnesota Department of Health. It’s that, on average, Minnesotans — and their doctors — are getting older.

Dr. Jeremy Springer, who chairs a Minnesota Medical Association task force, says there’s no short-term solution because it takes time to train new doctors.

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