Editorial: Healthcare Concerns

Financial concerns dominant our focus right now.

Healthcare concerns will be next.

The five counties in the River Region total about 400,000 people and 100,000 of them are uninsured or under insured for health care.

One million Alabamians are enrolled in Medicaid and nearly 40% of all children in the state depend on it for health care.  Increased government funding Medicaid is certainly an issue now.

The primary care doctor for many in our region is the emergency room doctor at Baptist or Jackson hospital.  The River Region outpaces the nation by nearly 20% in using the emergency room for doctor care.

Equally troubling is the average age of physicians in our community: 55.

Recruiting physicians to replace them is a huge challenge as availability dwindles.

The first step in dealing with a pending crisis is recognizing we have one.

Fortunately, many leaders in our community are focused on dealing with it and have already begun the process.

We encourage them in their efforts so we don't see what we've seen nationally this past week played out locally next year regarding health care.