01 January 2011

Many Children Lack Access to Physicians

This study, while not the best, or even using the good research methods, it still points out the inadequacies in our medical system. It does give us an inkling of how badly the children with diabetes in many geographical areas are needing care. It is small wonder that there are not more problems.

This is a common case throughout the US. In rural areas, there is a shortage of doctors and many people are forced to travel 50 to 150 miles (or more) one way to be seen by a doctor. Then finding a doctor or endocrinologist for children with diabetes can even be more difficult.

The study determined that there are approximately one million children in the US that live in areas with no local physician. What is shocking is that about one fifth of the US child population live in areas with more than 4400 children per child physician while another one fifth live in areas with less than 710 children per child physician.

This study has some limitations which raises some serious questions in the reliability of the data. Among these are the sources of data and mention nothing about physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They also did not evaluate insurance status and cultural disparities.

There are some measures that can help level the deficiencies, but they will take some careful study and considerations. This must be done to avoid greater health care inequities. The study authors suggest using accountability of of public funds that support medical training to encourage policies to reduce the disparities in physician distribution.

This is indeed a problem in many rural areas. The study indicates this is a problem in nearly all 50 states and needs to be addressed. With the projected increase in diabetes numbers, this is a problem that is not going away and could only get worse. Consider making this an issue with your congressional representatives and senators.

Read the article here.

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