Michigan, Nation Facing Looming Shortage of Physicians

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Lansing, Mich. (WILX) Within the next six years--by 2020--Michigan is on track to come up short nearly 5,000 physicians, and nationwide the number will be closer to 100,000, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, AAMC.

It's an issue that will be even more pronounced in some rural areas across Mid-Michigan that are already considered "medically underserved" like in Owosso, where Dr. Fred Van Alstine has been practicing for more than 30 years.

"When I first started here there were probably 15-20 family physicians in the community and now we're down to 10," he said.

"The lines are growing, we have a waiting list for new patients, typically it takes about six weeks for us to see a new patient."

It's a perfect storm of sorts, happening across Mid-Michigan and nationwide: supply isn't keeping up with demand.

Tonight on News 10 at 6, Josh Sidorowicz investigates what's behind this shortage, what's being done to fix it, and why it ultimately means you could soon be waiting longer the next time you want to see your physician.

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