NJ not tracking physician shortage

New Jersey State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R) said at a Senate Budget Committee hearing the state is simply guessing how many physicians are currently active, leaving lawmakers in the dark about the current physician-patient ratio, according to a New Jersey 101.5 report.

As more New Jersey residents gain coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it will be critical to know if the state has enough physicians to provide these residents with care, she said.

"We do not track physicians that are still practicing," Ms. Beck said, according to the report. "They may still have their license. It does not mean they're practicing. The Board of Medical Examiners hardly returns a phone call let alone tracking whether people are still practicing or not. We've got to get a hold of this information."

State Department of Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd, who does not manage the BME, estimated that New Jersey ranked 10th in the nation for its physician-population ratio, according to the report. Ms. Dowd said she would urge the board to begin tracking physicians.


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