New laws to ease doctor shortage see long delays, criticism
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Associated Press)
JEFFERSON CITY • A new Missouri law offered a first-of-its-kind solution to the physician shortage plaguing thousands of U.S. communities: Medical school graduates could start treating patients immediately, without wading through years of traditional residency programs.
Following Missouri’s lead, similar measures were enacted in Arkansas and Kansas and considered in Oklahoma. The idea appeared to be a new model for delivering medical care in regions with too few physicians to meet needs.
Yet more than 18 months after that first law passed, Missouri regulators are still trying to make it work. And not a single new doctor has gone into practice in any of the three states as a result of the new laws.