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Arizona facing shortage of young doctors

PHOENIX — Regardless of Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act, Arizona is facing a shortage of doctors.

The St. Luke’s Health Initiative said Arizona needs to add 800 medical residency positions to meet the national average, but it would cost $90 million to fix that.

Pete Wertheim with the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association said there’s going to be a lot of demand because of an aging physician population.

“Our medical schools and hospital residencies are not providing enough primary care,” he said.

Essentially, the future doctors train at Arizona schools and then go elsewhere to practice.

“If there’s no capacity to complete their training in Arizona, they simply have no choice but to leave,” said Wertheim.

Many don’t return to Arizona because doctors usually set up practice where they do their residency.