Physician Shortage: The further from Honolulu the worse it gets
Dear Editor, Feb 20, 2022
The physician shortage here is well known, and the further out you go from Honolulu the worse it gets (even if some specialties are represented in Hilo, where I live).
I was told by my primary care provider (PCP) that we used to have three gastroenterologists in Hilo and we now have one.
When I needed oral surgery my dentist didn't try to pull that tooth but sent me to an oral surgeon (I very much appreciate that my dentist, who is really good, recommended getting that tooth out by oral surgery because it came out in several pieces after having been fused to the bone), where it took me months to actually get the tooth out, and the whole thing with tooth replacement took two years (well pre-pandemic).
A comment I read elsewhere saying 'well, then you just have to go to Oahu' is not something everybody can afford.
I hope at least having to pay GE Tax on medical services goes away and the “reasonable charges” paid by Medicare are adjusted to what reasonable charges here would be. My PCP told me years ago that she will keep her patients when they go on Medicare but she won't accept new patients who are on Medicare only.
Having read that the so-called Urgent Care in Pahoa now only takes patients by appointment, lower Puna has more of a problem, and Ka'u is worse.