Study: County faces primary care shortage


Primary care physician Andy Houston updates a patient's records following an exam Tuesday at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin. Johnson County has 92 primary care physicians. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

Johnson County has fewer primary care doctors, nurses and physicians assistants than other central Indiana counties and should have more, a study found.

A study by the Indiana University School of Medicine found that the county falls short of a national standard for primary care providers and also lags behind 12 other counties in the state. However, Johnson County is close to having the amount of primary care providers that’s considered adequate and isn’t in crisis like many of Indiana’s rural counties, researchers said.

Primary care providers, including physicians, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners, are in short supply nationwide, and shortages are projected to get worse. An aging population, rising rates of obesity and diabetes, and the new federal health care law all are expected to increase the demand for primary care, according to Dr. Richard Kiovsky, director of the Indiana Area Health Education Centers Network and a professor of clinical family medicine at IU.

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