Oklahoma Facing Doctor Shortage
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Access to physicians in Oklahoma, especially in rural area, could become even more limited when the federal health care law kicks in next year and thousands of previously uninsured Oklahomans obtain coverage. Physician Manpower Training Commission deputy executive director Jim Bishop says people will be "flooding" doctor's offices. The commission is a state agency that administers programs intended to improve the medical care in rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma. Oklahoma ranked 43rd in the nation in 2010 with about 76 doctors per 100,000 residents. The state currently offers a variety of programs that includes a scholarship program offering $60,000 over four years to primary care providers and a program that provides up to $160,000 over four years to help physicians who locate in underserved areas repay their student loans.