December 11th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
6 months ago

State of the Union: Primary care shortages hitting hard

Dr. Taghrid Altoos is a first year resident at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital.
Dr. Taghrid Altoos is a first year resident at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital.

Denver, Colorado (CNN) – Her bedside manner is comforting, the questions to the point.

"Is the pain about the same?" asks Dr. Taghrid Altoos.

"Yeah. Yup. Still right on the side, and it's getting a little better every day," a patient says.

Dr. Altoos is a first-year resident at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, learning her craft at a time politicians in Washington debate major changes to America's health care system.

"I actually don't think about it too much," she told us during a recent visit to the Denver hospital. "I know it will probably affect the specialists more so than the primary-care physicians. So it would probably affect me as a radiation oncologist more so than a lot of the primary- care physicians."

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Filed under: Health care • State of the Union
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Ron in California

    Wait until the Healthcare bill is passed....fewer $$$=fewer Docotors.

    December 11, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Biased

    Way to go democrats.... shove more into medicare where you only pay the professionals 80% and have more and more of them refuse to treat those patients. Seems to me you are doing a great job of making a bad situation even worse.

    December 11, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Linda

    Dr. Altoos (in the article) is VERY right. If this health care disaster passes--it is DEFINITELy going to lead to a shortage of specialists.

    Did you hear the latest news...........

    There is a "loophole" in the health care disaster that they are trying to shove down our throats---whereby payments for cancer treatment is shut off after a certain dollar amount.

    December 11, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    Primary Care physicians are just as important as Specialist!! Before you can get to a "Specialist", you have to see Primary Care physicians and get a "referral".

    Today, it's not about CARING for the patient – it's about the MONEY – otherwise, you will have MORE primary care physicians.

    December 11, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. aneanderthal

    Wait until this weird Obama care bill is passed by the democrats, things will get much worse in terms of care and cost. But, we can reverse it in 2010 when we kick these liars and thieves out of office and do away with all the waste and fraud, when that big waster and fraud Hussein Obama is voted down in 2012. Just hope we can hold the country together until we get rid of these idiots the unions, ACORN and George Soros stole the election of 2008 for.

    December 11, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. GI Joe

    I hope every republican that votes to protect the insurance companies' profits, instead of getting healthcare for the people of this country, gets something painful and it costs them all their ill-gotten money.

    December 11, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. phoenix86

    If you think primary care is in short supply now, wait until Obamacare completely eliminates it.

    December 11, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. America Shrugged

    We Americans are sooo entitled, we can't just have a GP or Primary Physician, we all have to have specialists. Wonder why healthcare is sooo expensive? Primary Care/GP's should be paid accordingly and specialists only needed when actually needed. There isn't one person I know that isn't taking at least one medication or not seeing a specialist for one thing or another. We're a bunch of hypochondriacs and we've become part of the problem.

    December 11, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    There is only one solution to health care, and that is National health Care for everyone. All the same, and everyone treated alike. (Including those fat cats in Washington.)

    In the process, however, we have to purge the illegals from our borders, who are draining our country dry, so that citizens are not paying to provide public services, to illegals, and we have to stop providing Mexico's 2nd largest national product......repatriated funds from the US, by illegal immigrants.

    December 11, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    It is hard to believe that so many Americans need help, and the GOP congress refuses to get off their butts and reform health care.

    In this season of giving sharing and hope, Christianity has been hijacked by the right wingnuts.

    December 11, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  11. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    Has anyone else realized that Fox news is just like an Austin Powers movie? Rupert Murdock is Dr. Evil, Glenn Beck is Mini Me, and Sean Hannity is Fat Bastard.

    December 11, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  12. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    I was reading my Bible, and found a similarity between Aaron making the Golden Calf, and Glenn Beck. Both worshipped gold.

    December 11, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. Clint

    This should not be a problem if we just left things alone and followed the GOP health care philosophy - If you don't have a primary care physician in your area, use your huge bonus to move to an area where there is one.

    December 11, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Under Obamacare, you will die........

    earlier than you should.....care will be rationed and Obama's death panels will determine your fate.....like it now????

    December 11, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Matt

    Obama, Pelosi and Reid are forcing the government tentacles into the private healthcare and insurance industries–insuring that the American people have:
    • a lesser system (shortages, lotteries, outdated technology...),
    • corruption (see $60B of fraud associated with Medicare)
    • waste (new government panels, more agencies, more government workers and bureaucracies).

    The monstrosity of a bill needs to be scraped for real reform that occurs in smaller stages. If the bill passes, we don't seen anything until after the 2012 election (after paying for 4-5 years). Expect higher premiums....

    December 11, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Some republican guy

    It's all Obama's fault!!!!!!! Impeach him!!!!! H1N1 was manufactured by the narcisstic socialist obamabots and the Oprah watching union thugs in there secret laboratory in the basement of ACORN headquarters. They give your grandbabies the vaccine and a week later one of your grandbabies is stomping around the house in a Chay Guevaro T-shirt and the other grandbaby is wearing a buray hat with a red star on it and is shouting about the proletarions being exploited!!!!!!! Then your grandbabies turn you in to the dope smoking illeagle aliens from ACORN for having too many assault rifles and they take you away to the reeducation camp!!!!!! If anyone tries to give you or your grandbabies the vaccine, ask to see there birth certificate. If they can't produce one guess what??? Your dealing with an obamabot. Run away from them. Wise up people before its to late!!!!!!!! Have a nice day!

    December 11, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. Silence Dogoode

    Right, so instead of passing unconstitutional federal funded health care....

    1. Cap Malpractice torts (sorry John Edwards)
    2. Clean up medicare and medicaid (millions of fraud)
    3.Make lobbying from insurance, pharm, unions illegal
    4. Make it easier for future RNs and PCP to get eductaional funding for their educations

    December 11, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. Woonsocket

    But the Obama/CNN/Pelosi takeover of the health care system would only double down on this disaster.

    December 11, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. barbara

    Think its bad now? WAIT till 30 million more people are flooded into the health care system! less drs. equal less care. we complain that out teachers cant handle a class of 30 students and that some of those students will suffer because the teacher can not spread herself/himself around the class enough to ensure that they all get same education. same thing with drs.

    December 11, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |