The Doctor Can't See You Now

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Seasoned primary care doctors are abandoning their practices and scores of recently trained physicians are eschewing primary care for more lucrative specialties, creating a severe shortage that’s putting the nation’s health at risk. That’s the unsettling problem examined by a WBUR “Inside Out Documentary� initially airing at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, April 11, and repeated at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 13. Entitled “The Doctor Can’t See You Now,� Reporter Rachel Gotbaum explores what has caused this crisis and the means needed to address it, a particular concern in Massachusetts where health insurance is mandated for every resident.“If there is an insufficient number of primary care doctors available for these new patients, how effective is this new coverage?� poses Gotbaum.

Preceding the documentary, WBUR 90.9 FM, Boston’s NPR news station, will air a three-part series during “Morning Edition� on this same topic between 6-7 a.m. and 8-9 a.m., starting on Wednesday, April 9 and continuing through Friday, April 11.

“Primary care is a fundamental of medicine in the U.S., but the roles of the family practitioner and internal medicine physician are changing dramatically and upsetting the system,� says Assistant Program Director Anna Bensted. “Our report looks back at the history of primary care, the factors causing the physician shortage, how the health care system is adapting, and what steps are underway to improve the situation.�

“Inside Out� is a dynamic documentary unit producing long-format radio programs and multi-part series. Highly experienced reporters turn a topic inside out to give it context, perspective, and understanding. A unique emphasis on the sounds and voices of a story, combined with first-class narration engages the listener and brings them to the heart of the story.

One of New England’s leading sources of news and information, WBUR is owned and operated by Boston University and is a member of National Public Radio. WBUR also broadcasts a selection of BBC programs and locally produced programs such as “Here & Now,� “Only a Game,� “On Point,� and “Car Talk.� WBUR has won more than 100 major awards for its news coverage, including several George Foster Peabody Awards, the Associated Press News Station of the year for 2003-05, and three prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards in the 2007 Radio-Television News Director Association’s (RTNDA) annual national electronic journalism competition.

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