How is the doctor shortage hurting WNY?

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 04, 2017

Ken Schoetz, of the Western New York Healthcare Association, says lifetime health's decision to pull out of Western New York due to a lack of physicians is a symptom of a larger problem.

"Statewide there are 114 primary care physicians per 100,000 population.  In Western New York, if you combine the rural and upstate numbers, it's probably less than 90."

Schoetz says an aging population of doctors and higher salaries in bigger cities are to blame, but the University at Buffalo is taking steps to slow that trend.

"The scholarship in itself was a great amount of aid," said Gina Sparacino, a fourth year medical student at UB, who graduated from Kenmore East. "Coming from a large family with six brothers and sisters, it was a big thing for me."

Sparacino was one of the first recipients of the Western New York Medical Scholarship Fund Scholarship, which gives WNY natives an incentive to stay home when they graduate from UB Medical school.

Sparacino says that with the current need it's not only native Western New Yorkers who are staying after they graduate.

"I am seeing a lot more of the Buffalo students who want to stay, especially with the need for physicians in Western New York."