With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) many uninsured Oklahomans will have access to health insurance coverage starting in 2014. The influx of newly insured Oklahomans will create a greater demand for health care services. This could cause potential problems in Oklahoma because of the current lack of primary care providers (PCPs) in the state. Oklahoma currently ranks 49th in access to primary care physicians with only 81.7 physicians per 100,000 people.
Back in August, OK Policy released a Health Care Actions Item Brief that introduced smart policy reforms to improve Oklahoma’s health outcomes. The brief suggested that growing the supply of PCPs would be one way Oklahoma could work towards creating healthier citizens. Increasing PCPs can be accomplished through prioritizing investments to keep primary care physicians in the state, expanding training and scope of practice for non-physician health care providers, and taking advantage of federal funding to increase the health care workforce.
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