Hawaii physician shortage at lowest point in 4 years

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s supply of doctors is the lowest since 2015 as older physicians retire and younger practitioners move outside the state for higher pay, reports said.

Workforce data shows there are now 2,819 active physicians in Hawaii, a decrease of 108 full-time doctors over the past year, news organizations reported Tuesday.

A survey by the University of Hawaii Burns School of Medicine indicates the state needs at least 3,481 doctors. The school’s Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center found a quarter of the state’s doctors are 65 and older.

“It’s the hassles of medicine and the low pay in Hawaii,” said Basin Area Center Executive Director Kelley Withy.

A system of “payment transformation” was implemented in 2017 by the state’s largest health insurer, Hawaii Medical Service Association, which now reimburses doctors a fixed monthly rate for each patient regardless of how many times a patient is seen.

“We only have between 200 and 300 positions open because physicians used to open their own offices, but now it’s too expensive, and payment transformation makes it very challenging,” Withy said.

Almost three-quarters of 156 doctors who responded to the university survey said they are unhappy with the new per-member, per-month payment model, while more than half reported they earn less than in 2016.

“I think payment transformation has scared people out of state,” Withy said.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Josh Green, an emergency room doctor, disagrees.

“The physician shortage is not due to payment transformation. We are short on providers because it is difficult to train enough docs to keep up with retirements and people going to the mainland,” Green said. “We are in the middle of the evolution of our health care system.”

  1. Charlie Chimknee September 12, 2019 8:28 am Reply

    There may be multiple reasons why there is a difficulty in training enough new doctor replacements for retiring doctors and for those who return to the mainland to live closer to family and other reasons, like being so far away from things America while in Hawaii.

    But one trending reason appears to be that some savvy and akamai youth who would otherwise strive to become an M.D., are concerned about the philosophy and even lack of challenge behind modern medicine that would not provide a satisfying professional career.

    For the average M.D., listening to a litany of patient symptoms and assaying the signs of illness, body fluid tests, and x-rays etc., only to come up with a prescription drug as a solution, a treatment based on a limited diagnosis, a pill for every ill, a pill pretty much dictated by the Pharmaceutical Industry’s availability each year, and a list of side effects for each drug, with further and more drugs to treat the side effects of the initial drug(s) prescribed…is just not that exciting and over a career can bore a brilliant mind to “death”, which some of the prescriptions do to the patients.

    The fact that M.D.’s are limited by the new drugs available each year, and even those are in a competition in the pharmaceutical industry ‘s companies striving for drug patent profits on new drugs. When a single patient gets an ill side effect from the drug that they are prescribed, they obviously know it and feel or sense it. But the doctor sees the many patients return for additional treatments for side effects…and at some point has to take some personal responsibility for the added new sickness injury to the patient caused by their (limited) choice of which pill for each ill.

    Another frustrating element for an M.D. is the fact that while patients come to the doctor to get well, the doctor knows that the choice of medical treatments that are available for the medical doctor to choose from, If the doctor is to remain within the aceptable guidelines for medical care and the ever demand or push to sell more drugs, well the doctor knows that drug treatment is not a path to getting patients well, but instead is designed to put the patient on a lifetime of drugs and continual visits back to the doctor.

    For example High Blood Pressure (HBP) and Diabetes, they are medically treated pretty much ongoing for the rest of your life, and patients accept that as the only treatment available. The treatments ongo year after year after decade with no concern by the ignorant Un-medically educated patient or the doctor for knowing the cause of those 2 diseases, or any of the common diseases making people sick.


    So instead of teaching the patient the dietary and lifestyle CAUSE of High Blood Pressure and/or Type 2 Diabetes; and the lifestyle and dietary CHANGES necessary to restore their actual health, and the end of the High Blood Pressure and Type 2 Diabetes for that patient, the lengthy medical education of the doctor only includes the sale and prescription of drugs that mask the symptoms, that is, a Pill for Every ill..and the patient internally still has the HBP and/or the Diabetes accelerated degeneration to their body and organs but only their lab findings are masked synthetically pretending their illness is better.

    The more and more people that are educated about their bodies, and the prospective medical students realize how limited their medical practice will be as salespeople for drug companies, the more and more medical doctors will retire early and their replacement doctors will have gone off into alternative health care careers.

    More and more people are becoming Vegetarian and Vegen to the point where Supply and Demand are shifting…that being one of the Fast Food nationwide Restauarant chains is now offering Vegen Burgers on national TV ads. Vegen Burgers, Can you believe that…? From all beef patties to Vegen Burgers. Change is coming, it’s on it’s way…!

    Too many chronic diseases and acute diseases are a Lifestyle and Diet Cause, and the sooner people and doctors begin to understand this and shift their lifestyle and diet to that which provides actual Health, and not continue the charade of Fake health by pharmaceutical drug induced numbers, the sooner the human body itself will restore actual health to the body and no longer internally have the criteria diagnosed as High Blood Pressure or Type 2 Diabetes. The patient will be living with Health and experiencing a higher quality of life and greater optimal longevity.

    As this new wave of actual Health oriented lifestyle and medical care continues to evolve, the Pharmaceutical Industry will lose more and more of its drug salespersons, and doctors will again become physicians whose job is to teach people about Health, how to maintain and perpetuate Health, how to restore Health naturally, and how to live a Healthy Active Life with Optimal Longevity.

    Now you know one of the reasons why there are less doctors today, and may well become less and less medical doctors in the future.

    There will always be a need for doctors in the future as actual physicians, the word physician means teacher.

    Physicians Educating people to maintain their Health, and restore their Health if they have lost it.

    Physicians in Elementary and Secondary schools teaching Health, an hour a day for 12 years would drastically improve the strength of America and almost rid ourselves of drugs for chronic and acute disease.

    We will always need drugs and surgery for trauma injuries and end of life procedures.

    The Capitalistic alliance of the petrochemical industry, the Pharmaceutical industry, the manufactured food and farm industry, and the medical industry, by supporting each other earn $4 Trillion dollars per year, and growing. We can demand an improvement in this alliance that would give our nation better Health.

    Disease Care in America is like looking down on a 50 acre vehicle junk yard with thousands and thousands of crushed cars, where the cars are stacked 3 high and asking yourself thinking about all the sick people in America…

    “Which one and which part do we fix first…?”

    It boils down to the fact that we deserve better, a Nation of Health, and not one of Patients on Drugs, of which statistics show that 80% of Americans take medical drugs. Shame…! America wil be greater without drugs of any kind.

    Mahalo for reading.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.