Why seniors in small towns are having trouble finding doctors

For Baby Boomers, one of the biggest factors in deciding where they should plan to retire is the availability of healthcare offerings, including clinics, hospitals or doctors.

But as a recent article from NPR.com showed, many seniors who choose to retire in smaller, rural areas are finding it increasingly difficult to find doctors, especially doctors who are accepting new patients.

“We are always trying to recruit doctors. We are barely keeping even,” Lyle Jackson of the Mid-Rogue Independent Physician Association in Grants Pass, Oregon.

According to the news source, the shortage of doctors in rural areas is due to a number of factors. One reason is that bigger cities offer more opportunities for schools for their children, employment for their spouses, and thus attract more doctors.

Additionally, Medicare pays rural doctors less per medical procedure than urban doctors, which is based on the assumption that the costs run lower than in larger cities.

With all these factors combined, fewer doctors are relocating to smaller towns, and more doctors are leaving those locations.

With the number of Baby Boomers reaching the age of 65 hitting about 10,000 per day, the doctor shortage will make it harder for seniors to retire in rural locales, but may mean more move-ins to assisted living communities, many of which have doctors on location.