State faces physician shortage as it loses more doctors

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s supply of doctors is the lowest since 2015 as older physicians retire and younger practitioners move outside the state for higher pay.

Workforce data shows there are now 2,819 active physicians in the state, a decrease of 108 full-time doctors over the past year.

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A survey by the University of Hawaii Burns School of Medicine indicates the state needs at least 3,481 doctors to care for the aging population.

The school’s Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center says a quarter of the state’s doctors are 65 and older.

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Center Executive Director Kelley Withy says physicians are finding opening their own offices too expensive.

Withy says a new fixed payment transformation system that reduces the money earned per patient also makes the business “challenging” for doctors.

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