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140611EPAadultdocs FINALSaturday, I volunteered to sit in a boardroom on a sunny day with 30 other people from various professions talking about the crisis we face in our community: inadequate access to good-quality primary care for adults in our area.

At this point, we have a huge victory: 15,000 adults have been assigned a primary care provider (PCP) since last November. Many of these individuals have had no access to healthcare for decades. The stories are compelling:

  • A woman in her fifties who has never had a mammogram.
  • A gentleman who has smoked for many years, has a chronic, worsening cough, but was never seen by a doctor.
  • A diabetic woman without a blood sugar meter.

Now, they have hope for better care.

But there are 10,000 more adults in our area who have signed up for primary care and are yet unassigned to a PCP due to an inadequate numbers of medical providers.

Our provider workforce is aging quickly — the average age of adult primary care providers in Lane County is 55 years. And if we don’t soon address the need to inject new, young blood in our medical community, there will be only a few providers left here in a few years to take care of all of us.