Dear Ms. Wolf:
Thank you for a very comprehensive and informative article regarding country medicine and the rural family physician. I am a retired emergency physician currently living in southern California. During my first 7 years of practice, I served a remote rural area in the Sierra Mountains of northern California; therefore, I am very sensitive to a number of issues that were raised in the article. For the past 4 years, I have owned a house in Stanley, and I am repeatedly encouraged to consider moving there permanently to help with the provision of services at the Stanley Clinic.
Certain challenges facing the provision of care to rural residents were not discussed in the article; however, I understand that the article was already fairly long and an otherwise excellent summary. I was most struck by the glaring dichotomy between the straightforward comments and common sense observations conveyed by the interviewed physicians compared to the recommendations made by those researchers investigating possible solutions to rural healthcare workforce dilemmas. The suggestions made by those researchers were far from comprehensive and lacked several major components required for any success in this matter. Even if their suggestions would be fully funded and implemented, the final outcome would yield little difference compared to the current situation.
Thank you again for a discussion that was thoroughly researched, very informative, and enjoyable to read.
Gary M. Flashner, MD
Huntington Beach, CA (and Stanley!)
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