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Newly Insured Illinoisans May Not Find Doctors

CHICAGO (AP) - Doctor shortages could make it difficult for residents in some Illinois counties to find medical care when the federal health overhaul kicks in.

Hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans will become eligible for health insurance next year. But state and federal officials say 22 counties have a shortage of primary care doctors.  In South Central Illinois, those counties include Washington, Clinton, Fayette, and Clay Counties.  Other Southern Illinois counties listed as having shortages are Gallatin, Johnson, and Hamilton.  There are another 200 pockets in urban and rural areas with shortages.  Illinois is slightly above average in its overall supply of primary care doctors. But doctors aren't evenly distributed, leaving some areas relying on nurses and physician assistants for care. 

Gov. Pat Quinn has requested a statewide strategy to address the shortage. 

Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck says solutions may include delivering care through real-time video and fast-tracking credentials for military veterans with medical experience.

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