For local health care professionals it's a problem they've heard before.
"Just not enough physicians in Western Colorado to meet the demand of our growing population," says Dr. David West with St. Mary's Hospital. Chris Thomas, president and CEO of Community Hospital also agrees. "When I talk to physicians they are getting anything from 10 to 20 calls a day from people looking for a physician and they are just not able to take them into their practice." And it's not just a problem for low income families or those on Medicare or Medicaid.
"People that move here and they've got jobs and they've got insurance and they've got Medicare still can't get in to see a doctor," says Dr. West. Thomas says it's a problem that is spilling into other areas of the hospital. "They are using the urgent cares more often they are using the emergency departments more often it's really become a burden for a number of the members of the community."
St. Mary's and Community Hospitals say they are looking into working with medical schools to help meet future needs but both admit that is a long term solution.
"Were in a very catch up mode for the whole country now," says West.
Dr. West says not to wait to until an emergency to find a doctor.
"Put your name on a waiting list, get the process started."
Dr. West also recommends looking for new doctors who haven't yet established a full client list.
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