The dearth of interest in rural surgical practice has created surgical deserts and health risks in small communities throughout the U.S., reports Paul Barr, in a recent Modern Healthcare article, “Looking for an oasis.” The story cites the American College of Surgeons (ACS) report, Surgical Deserts in the U.S.: Places without Surgeons, which points out that Americans in more than 900 mostly rural counties have no access to a local surgeon.
The scarcity of rural surgeons has an impact on quality of care, according to Tyler Hughes, MD, FACS, who is quoted in the story. “When you have a low density of surgeons, morbidity and mortality go up,” says Dr. Hughes, who is a member of the ACS Board of Governors and practices in McPherson, KS, a community with a population of about 40,000. Philip Caropreso, MD, FACS, who serves the rural communities of Keokuk, IA, and Carthage, IL, notes in the article that he has “tried and failed to recruit qualified surgeons” to the area. Drs. Hughes and Caropreso will both serve on a newly formed ACS Rural Surgery Task Force that will explore the surgeon shortage in rural areas.
Read the entire Modern Healthcare article.