Larkin Discusses Potential Doctor Shortage Upstate

William J. Larkin, Jr.

November 13, 2007

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today spoke out about the potential serious physician shortage facing upstate New York and what the New York State Senate is doing to attract young talented physicians to upstate.

"Medical professionals currently practicing in our communities are aging rapidly and they aren’t being replaced quickly enough," said Senator Larkin. "According to a recent survey, the majority of upstate doctors are over 50 and on the verge of retirement. If we don’t do something to fight this looming doctor shortage we will face serious medical issues for years to come.

"Fortunately, we have a wonderful crop of young, well-educated, hardworking doctors close enough to be recruited to upstate. New York City is home to many of the country’s best and brightest medical students. We need to aggressively embark on a campaign to encourage them to make the wonderful communities of upstate New York their permanent home.

Recently, the Greater New York Hospital Association held its first ever "Where to Practice" Open House in New York City. The goal of the meeting was to encourage doctors educated in New York City to consider working upstate. The event also focused on the other medical care issues affecting our state and country.

Our population is aging, and numerous projections show that the medical community is not keeping pace. It is estimated that by the year 2020 the U.S. will be short about 55,000 physicians. At the same time, demand for doctors is expected to increase about 50%. We need to bring the best medical minds from across the state under one roof and attack these problems head-on.

As a lawmaker, one of our chief duties is making sure the people of New York State are safe and able to access medical care when they need it. I will be working especially hard this year to increase funding for health care services, facility expansion and research for upstate. This year alone, my colleagues and I in the Senate Majority successfully restored hundreds of millions of dollars from the Governor’s harmful cuts to hospitals and health care facilities. We will fight for that again this year. The Senate’s goal is not only to preserve the quality of health care we have, but to improve it and maintain New York State as the cutting edge world leader in research and treatment. As we do this, more and more physicians will want to practice in our upstate communities."