August 8, 2013

For Immediate Release

A new study has found that Greater Cincinnati has a shortfall of nearly 200 primary care physicians (PCPs). Conservative estimates show the deficit is projected to grow to 250 by 2017 as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes full effect.

The study was commissioned by the Executive Stakeholders’ Council (ESC), a cross-section of business, healthcare and community leaders formed to improve health and health care in the region. The Health Collaborative is continuing the work of the ESC.

More Residents Will Have Health Insurance

Full implementation of the ACA will provide health insurance coverage for an estimated 30 to 32 million more Americans, including 164,000 more area residents. Many of these residents do not have a relationship with a primary care physician.

“There will be a pent up demand for primary care providers among those newly covered,” says Robyn Chatman, M.D., M.P.H., president of the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati, and a local primary care provider. Dr. Chatman served as primary author of a report released today.

The study assesses primary care capacity in nine counties of Greater Cincinnati and forecasts the need for primary care practitioners by 2017. It also offers initial solutions the community may consider.

Dr. Chatman explains, “A perceived shortage already exists in Greater Cincinnati, though there had been no accurate, complete local database of primary care physicians. Our study found we are nearly 200 doctors short of even the most conservative recommended ratios. By 2017, the anticipated increase in demand will bring the deficit to 250.”

Only the most populous county in the nine-county area – Hamilton County – approaches the current national ratio for PCPs to population, and most counties fall far short of that ratio.

Fewer Physicians Choosing Primary Care Medicine

Given the increased need for PCPs under the ACA, the national trend in the primary care field is troubling. Fewer physicians are entering family or internal medicine, many citing the need to choose a higher paying specialty to support overwhelming student debt. Decisive action is needed to ensure that adequate primary care resources are available in the coming years.

Access to Care Continues to Be a Barrier

The shortage is made worse when viewed from the standpoint of distribution and access. For example, Butler and Clermont Counties are underserved by 73 and 72 physicians respectively. In addition, proximity to public transportation has long hindered access.

“We must address the barriers to care that could prevent newly covered individuals from seeing primary care providers says Judith Warren, CEO of Health Care Access Now. “This includes transportation and a lack of providers who accept Medicaid.”

Recommendations Include Recruitment, Adopting PCMH

The report recommends strategies for addressing the shortage of PCPs including:

• strengthening the current primary care base including expanding community health centers

• developing creative strategies for recruiting new primary care physicians to live and work in the community

• promoting community-wide adoption of the Patient Centered Medical Home concept

• making better use of electronic health information to improve efficiency.

Read the full Report

Review the Slide Show

To schedule an interview with Robyn Chatman contact Laura Randall at

(513) 979-0051 or (513) 703 3090

Learn about physician recruiting activities already underway in the region

About the study

The database of primary care physicians was compiled by students from the Xavier University Master of Health Services Administration program, under the direction of Tom Ruthemeyer.  Physician addresses were verified by contacting each of the health systems and hospitals, Mercy Medical Associates, St. Elizabeth Physicians, The Christ Hospital Physicians, TriHealth Physician Partners, UC Physicians, local and national physician organizations, The Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati, American Medical Association, Cincinnati Business Courier, Medical Group Management Association, the Ohio and Kentucky State Medical Associations, the State Medical Board of Ohio and Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, as well as by direct contact with physician practices.

Support for the study also was provided by HealthLandscape, and a portion of the costs associated with the study were funded by the Doctors Foundation, whose mission is to recruit and retain physicians in Greater Cincinnati.

About the Author    Capture

Robyn Fortner Chatman, MD MPH CPHIMS FAAFP, a native of Gulfport, MS, received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from the University  of Mississippi at Oxford.  Following her undergraduate studies, Dr. Chatman moved to Cincinnati and began a research career initially at the UC School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics and later in the Neurophysiology Dept. of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.

Dr. Chatman attended the Medical College of Ohio (now the University of Toledo Medical Center) followed by specialty training in Family Medicine at the Bethesda Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, serving as Chief Resident in her final year.  She has completed the requirements for a Masters of Public Health from The Ohio State University and a Post Master’s Certificate in Health Informatics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Dr. Chatman is board certified in Family Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Chatman represents her patients and fellow physicians as a delegate to the American Medical Association (AMA) and First District Counselor to the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA).  She was elected to the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health and is the current President of the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati.

Dr. Chatman’s other interests include disaster preparedness through her involvement with the OH-5 Disaster Medical Assistance Team as Medical Officer and as a member of the Tristate Medical Reserve Corps.  She is Co-Chair of the Health and Wellness Ministry in her church and is a frequent speaker at community health fairs.  Dr. Chatman and her husband William enjoy fishing and bowling. They reside in Silverton.