Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

July 1, 2013

Some optimistic despite doctor shortage concerns

(Continued)

"We're seeing more nurse practitioners and physician's assistants, who do a very good job with primary care," he said.

But Kowalski said there are times when the patient would most benefit from the advanced knowledge of a physician. He compared the tiers of primary care to working on a car.

"When I have to change my oil or rotate my tires, I take my car to my local mechanic," the doctor said. "But when there's something seriously wrong, I take it to the dealer.

"Doctors are kind of like the dealer."

Even though mid-level medical professionals are working to fill in the gaps, Kowalski said America is facing a shortage of them also.

However, changes in education could help.

Nurse practitioner Dot Behrns of Family Care Associates in Effingham said the advent of distance education is helping nurses upgrade their training to become nurse practitioners.

"We're definitely seeing more nurse practitioner students coming through," Behrns said. "Distance learning capabilities are allowing more nurses to become nurse practitioners."

Behrns said her clinic — with six doctors and five nurse practitioners — should be able to handle any influx of new patients. But she questioned whether rural counties in deep southern Illinois are in the same boat.

"We're very fortunate in Effingham in that we have a lot of primary care physicians," she said. "Southern Illinois is probably not as fortunate, because people in that area are already having to travel quite a bit for health care."

Kowalski said yet another factor leading to a physician shortage is the increasing amount of time that doctors have to spend away from their patients, including paperwork and regulatory matters.

"When I first moved here in 1997, I spent 20 percent of my time on non-patient care issues," he said. "Now it's closer to 50 percent."

Text Only
Local News
  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29 Filming PRIMARY Effingham grad returns to make film Travis Long says he learned a lot from directing his first full-length feature several years ago.“Kill Me Now was a learning experience, both in shooting and distribution,” the 1998 Effingham High School graduate said.With a full production crew and

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Column break just that -- a break

    ‘Hey, Ron. You didn’t have a column this week. What’s the deal? It’s the reason I buy a paper on Thursdays.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Isom.jpg Opinion: It's about time

    Finally, someone else speaks up and it’s about time.
    I applaud Ron Worman and welcome him to take a seat on my bandwagon. His addressing the proliferation of signs of every description, virtually everywhere one looks, is a welcome additional voice — even though rare.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Effingham County was meeting place for underage sex tryst

    An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he traveled out of state to meet an underage person in Effingham County for sexual activity.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jail inmate attempts suicide

    An unscheduled cell check is credited for saving the life of an Effingham County Jail inmate who tried to hang himself early Thursday morning.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.