By Michael Miller |  The Press of Atlantic City

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Jersey’s medical schools might consider giving away bridge fare with their diplomas, since increasing numbers of new doctors are leaving the state after finishing their residencies, according to a survey by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals.

The reason? Other states are offering incentives too good to resist, council President Dr. J. Richard Goldstein said.

“The primary driving force responsible for the dramatic decline in New Jersey is that other states are now stepping up their recruitment efforts to address their own shortages,” he said. “To put it simply, they offer richer loan-repayment programs, better Medicaid rates, caps on pain and suffering (insurance payments) and lower tax burdens.”

The survey found that 62 percent of doctors completing their residencies planned to find work outside the state.

Primary-care gap

Local hospitals are aware of the problem, which is expected to get worse as more doctors retire with nobody to fill their lab coats.

“Next year is the first year that baby boomers turn 65,” said Dr. Peter Jungblut, director of medical affairs at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point.

Jungblut said many new doctors are leaving the state to practice specialty care, where New Jersey now has ample resources and stiff competition.

“Four out of five graduates are seeking specialties,” he said.

Primary-care physicians, however, are lacking in parts of New Jersey.

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