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Does Austin Already Have Enough Doctors?

Credit Phalin Ooi,

While advocates of a proposed medical school in Austin claim that the region faces a looming doctor shortage, a recent study from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio seemingly argues otherwise.

The San Antonio study, led by surgeon Ronald M. Stewart, M.D., examined changes in the number of physicians throughout the state of Texas, compared with changes in the general population, in the years after Texas lawmakers limited medical liability claims in 2003.

The study found that the number of physicians practicing in Texas grew by 44 percent since 2003, which is more than double the state's 21 percent overall population growth.

In the Austin-Round Rock region, Stewart's report found that the number of physicians per 100,000 people grew from 178 to 216 from 2002 to 2012.

Many areas of the United States expect to face doctor shortages soon, as boomer physicians begin to retire, and that same aging population requires more medical care.

Locally, Healthy ATX, a group advocating the building of a medical school in Austin, says Austin will be short by 770 doctors in the next three years. 

Central Health's Prop 1, which would fund a medical school and expanded local medical care, is before voters tomorrow, Election Day, Nov. 6.

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