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I am a primary care physician in Newport Beach at the Institute of Plant-Based Medicine. I would like to discuss the shortage of primary care providers we face. The population of Americans aged 65 and over is projected to grow by 58% by 2034. Inevitably, this will result in a 37,000 to 120,000 physicians shortage by 2034, with a primary care physician shortage ranging from 17,800 to 48,000 by that same year.
Dr. David Mir, MD.
October 5, 2023
Patients with a primary care physician have better outcomes in overall health and quality of life. Patients without a primary care physician have higher rates of poor health outcomes, emergency room visits, and hospital readmissions. This is quite frankly dangerous for patients diagnosed with new onset heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and other comorbidities such as depression, to name a few. Advanced medical conditions require extensive follow-up with lab work and medication management. Treatment also requires patient education for the prevention of complications.
A good example is new-onset diabetes mellitus, which requires frequent blood sugar monitoring through a PCP. Not measuring blood sugars after being discharged from an ER with new-onset diabetes can have severe consequences. High blood sugars due to inadequate dosing of medication lead to coma, loss of vision, heart disease, kidney disease, limb amputation, frequent infections, and permanent nerve damage. Alternatively, low blood sugar may trigger loss of consciousness, seizures, head injuries, organ damage, and bodily injuries from motor vehicle accidents and falls.
In conclusion, although the primary care shortage is looming, establishing care with a PCP today is vital for preventing and managing chronic disease. I strongly advocate for patients to take charge of better health by closer monitoring, education, and regular follow-ups. My practice is open to all individuals seeking a new primary care physician.