The Georgia General Assembly will be considering a bill this year that would give preferential treatment to native Georgia residents that want to pursue a degree in medicine. The state currently has nine-counties that do not have any physicians and many counties that lack medical specialists.
According to statistics, more than 380 doctors in rural Georgia plan to retire in the next five years. In fact, Georgia will have to replace around 1,500 doctors in the next ten to fifteen years due to retirement.
State Representative Rick Jasperse, a Republican from Jasper, Georgia, has introduced a bill that would give added preference to native Georgians in state-funded residency programs. The idea behind the bill is to retain medical students who graduate from high school and attend college in Georgia, but do their residency out-of-state; which often means the doctors never come back to Georgia.
While none of the counties that don’t have physicians are located in Northwest Georgia, Chattooga County has no full-time pediatric or OB-GYN doctors.