By KATHRYN HARRIS
Recent indicators have shown that it takes nearly two doctors to do the work that was once performed by one family practice physician. But more money, better hours and greater prestige are among factors leading medical students to choose specialty medicine over family practice.
These factors — combined with the greater number of physicians who will be needed to meet increased demand resulting from health care reform — are contributing to the creation of a serious shortage of primary care physicians in rural Nebraska.
Some Northeast Nebraska hospitals are already feeling the effects. Late last year, a University of Nebraska Medical Center study showed that 11 rural counties in the state — including Keya Paha and Wheeler — don’t have any primary care physicians.