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Health care summit addresses alarming loss of physicians

The large Medicare and Medicaid population compounds the problem, said Assemblywoman Janet Duprey. We need to bring in new providers nd stop the current ones from leaving.

Harvard Medical School Professor of Medical Economics, Emeritus, Rashi Fein said the problem begins when students leave school.

They leave medical school with an average debt of over $100,000, Fein said. Then we offer them higher incomes and often easier lifestyles if they enter various specialties, and lower incomes if they enter primary care, family medicine or geriatrics...Time is not on our side, there is a crisis and things will get better or they will get worse. They will not just kind of go along.

Barton Mines General Manager Randy Rapple gave his perspective on the problem.

From the perspective of an employer, I completely agree, Rapple said. I recognize that the medical care providers have done a tremendous job of sticking a thumb in the dike, so many Adirondackers dont even know about this crisis. If we dont take care of this problem, all those who live in the Adirondacks wont have health care.

The problem is multi faceted, and Acquario urged everyone to call on government officials to bring state insurance companies together and compel them to raise their reimbursements, which have been declining for years, causing the collapse of health care facilities.

You cant do it on your own, but through the power of open forum, we have the beginning of a campaign to compel private carries to increase reimbursements, he said.

Rugge said he has spoken with many private carriers and so far, hasnt been able to get them to raise reimbursements.

The governor is not a shy man, Rugge said. Insurance companies are knocking down our hospitals and health centers. What if we have no doctors and no nurses? Who wants to live in a place like that?

Physician Recruiter for Glens Falls Hospital Jen Metivier said she also feels strongly that reimbursement needs to be improved.

The Northeast is the worst in the country, she said. The Adirondacks are a great place to live, but so are many other American places, and the pay here is lower.

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