JOPLIN, Mo. — No one wants to have to wait six or eight weeks to get to see the family doctor, but some experts worry that could happen as the need for physicians grows.
Now, a new Missouri law has been designed to help change that.
State lawmakers are hoping a new incentive will boost the number of doctors in training. They want to offset what’s predicted to be a demand for nearly 700 more family practice doctors in just the next eight years.
“Whether you’re sick or well, just to get an appointment sometimes can take several weeks or maybe even a month,” said Dr. John Paulson, KCU JOPLIN.
He is hoping Missouri Senate Bill 718 will help change that.
It authorizes tax credits for preceptorship training. That’s a stage of medical school where students follow established doctors in a kind of internship.
“This tax credit opportunity gives us a real chance at getting students into these rural practices early enough so that they can actually make a choice as to whether that’s a lifestyle or profession for them,” said Dr. Paulson.
He testified in favor of the bill in Jefferson City.
“This has been done in the past, it’s just there wasn’t any compensation. So, a lot of these rural physicians were doing it just out of the goodness of their heart, which a lot of them still will, and this isn’t going to be able to compensate everybody but it’s going to be able to get some,” said Dr. Paulson.
He hopes to see the tax credit, up to $3,000, encourages more rural family practice physicians to mentor student doctors.
“We don’t really have a good opportunity to expose them to what it looks like to be a rural, family medicine physician or pediatrician or internal medicine office person, and so this allows us to compensate some of the rural physicians that want to have students,” said Dr. Paulson.