Physician Shortage

There are currently 10,227 physicians licensed in Hawaiʻi, with 3,290 physicians actively providing patient care to patients in Hawaiʻi. The physician effort totals 2,812 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) of direct care to patients as some of the doctors don’t work full time. The national demand model applied to the State of Hawaiʻi indicates a need for 3,529 FTEs indicating a shortage of 710 FTE of physician services. [Source]

The physician shortage in the state of Hawaiʻi is only getting worse and an annual report was presented to the state legislature at the start of their legislative session. Hilo Medical Center Foundation worked diligently with the State Primary Care Office on Oahu to get Hawaiʻi County the Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation which was granted in October 2017. The county-wide designation allows for loan repayment, development of rural health clinics and a 10% quarterly bonus payment to providers on their direct billed Medicare billings.

The Foundation addresses the primary care physician shortage on Hawaiʻi island by supporting many residency programs including Family Medicine, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, and the Physician Assistance (PA) School’s Medex program in Kona with housing, rotations and a rotation vehicle.
One of our community partners, Hui Kahu Malama, offers similar support for the University of Hawaiʻi Internal Medicine Residency Program and fourth-year medical students from the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) with a 2-4-week Rural Health Elective rotation focused on internal medicine.

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