Public Health tracks the number of healthcare workers – physicians, dentists and psychiatrists – to make sure we have enough to take care of the community. In Arizona we’ve been challenged to recruit and keep those professionals – and we have numerous Health Professional Shortage Areas. Just to eliminate the current shortages, we’d need an additional 313 primary care physicians, 250 Dentists, and 136 Psychiatrists… and a new study shows that we’ll need even more as AZ aligns Medicaid eligibility with the Affordable Care Act. The study estimates the country will need about 52,000 more primary care physicians to meet the nation’s health care needs through 2025. The biggest reason for the increase is the growing population, but the number of people getting older and the insurance change impact the number too.
Fortunately, we have some creative people working on solutions here in Arizona. This month our Health Systems Development shop along with the Arizona Alliance of Community Health Centers and the UA’s Center for Rural Health brought together folks from the healthcare industry, academia, Arizona Area Health Education Centers, and clinicians to discuss strategies to address the shortage of healthcare workers in Arizona. The group showed strong support for the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet) – a tool that helps businesses solve healthcare workforce issues. The 3RNet Program invites healthcare facilities in Arizona to register and use 3RNet as a recruitment tool. Agencies that use 3RNet can post and update vacancies and post videos or pictures of their facility or their community to better market and attract candidates. If you have questions about the program, you can contact Ana Roscetti, Workforce Section Manage, at Ana.Lyn.Roscetti@azdhs.gov or 602-542-1066.