Bill aims to tackle AZ doctor shortage

Bill aims to tackle AZ doctor shortage
(Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A bill moving through the legislature hopes to tackle the doctor shortage in Arizona by providing more training opportunities for medical students.

Senate Bill 1354 focuses on graduate medical education and would funnel money to five programs aimed at keeping future doctors in the state.

Dr. Robert Aaronson who works at the Tucson Medical Center said the bill would alleviate the doctor shortage in Arizona, which is considered one of the worst in the nation.

According to the Association of Medical American Colleges, only 42 percent of medical students stay in Arizona after they graduate.

Aaronson, who also leads TMC’s medical education program, said the reason future doctors leave the state is because there are no training spots for them. He says lack of funding is the reason for limited spots.

He said the bill would provide money that is desperately needed to support more local residency programs - leading to more doctors and less waiting for Arizonans to be seen.

“If you have a kid that needs to see a pediatrician, if you’re an adult and you need to see a primary care physician, there are long waits because we have shortages of those doctors. If you need a specialist, right now, we have shortages of so many medical sub-specialists, surgical sub-specialists, pediatric sub-specialists," he said.

The proposed bill would also include funding to increase training opportunities for nurses.

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