Oklahoma is a physician 'desert,' state medical leader says

Oklahoma is experiencing a severe physician shortage in part due to a limited number of residency positions in the state, one medical leader told CBS affiliate KWTV.

"There's an extreme shortage. Oklahoma is one of the deserts for physicians in the United States," said Larry Bookman, MD, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

To address the shortage, Dr. Bookman said Oklahoma must increase the number of residency slots available in the state. He is calling on lawmakers to allocate more money for teaching hospitals to create residency positions.

Lawmakers have already pledged $62.8 million to teaching hospitals this year, but Dr. Bookman said the move was to make up for lost federal funding and will not be enough.

"You can't have a five-year residency and only know it's funded for one year," he told KWTV.

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