Alabama, like many states, in dire need of doctors
By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Emily Benito
State officials and local leaders are looking to address the growing number of physician shortages in Alabama. According to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, a 2019 study predicts the United States will face a shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians by 2032.
Alabama is in need of roughly 3,000 doctors right now, and a new bill working its way through the 2023 legislature aims to address that shortage.
- Streamline some aspects of the qualification process without compromising a high standard for care
- Establish an apprenticeship-like program for medical graduates who don’t match into residency programs so they can start working while training under a licensed physician
- Allow international medical graduates to apply for a license in two years instead of three
- Repeal an out-of-state testing requirement for physicians moving to Alabama
“I think it is important for us to have more primary care, in Alabama. I think that is the solution, or one of the solutions to the opioid epidemic,” Weida said. “Where we can identify those who are at risk and treat them where they live in the rural areas. Because otherwise they are not going to be able to go to the big cities to get treatment. They need to get it in their backyard.”
If you’re not a doctor and aren’t planning on becoming one, there’s still something you can do to help, Loyd said.
“People want to know all the time, ‘what can I do?’ ” said Loyd. “No. 1, change your attitude. People suffering from addiction are suffering from a treatable medical illness and they don’t need somebody to show them tough love or kick them out. They need somebody to help them.”
Both the House and Senate versions of this bill passed unanimously in committee Wednesday.