In Search of the Nation’s Primary Care Providers

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Clinicians at Valley-Wide Health Systems in San Luis, Colorado struggle with full-time provider shortages in rural areas. Costilla County’s clinic faces vacancies despite federal incentives such as loan repayment programs and Medicare bonus payments. This represents a larger trend across the U.S. There is persistent struggle in attracting primary care providers, as many practices in more populated areas. Significant shortages of primary care clinicians exist across the U.S., especially in rural communities. Despite federal funding and programs to address the issue, the shortage has not significantly improved. Shortages are exacerbated by outdated and incomplete data, which lack information about other healthcare providers that deliver primary care. Federal initiatives to fix this issue may not be working due to several constraints, including unequal data available and fragmented eligibility criteria.

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