48 / 24
      50 / 22
      55 / 26

      Affordable Care Act affects residents in rural communities

      For residents in rural areas, difficulty finding a physician that will accept Medicare or Medicaid is becoming more common.

      "Your rural areas, you are typically going to have more elderly, more children, and more disabled people. Those are going to be the people without health insurance", says Attorney Denise Fletcher of Brown and Fortunato, P.C.

      As doctors are receiving fewer reimbursements for accepting medicare and Medicaid patients, a decline in rural medicine is confronting small town residents.

      "It's difficult to be a small town doctor and you definitely will make more money as a physician if you go into a bigger town", says Dr. Carmen Purl of Sunray Clinic.

      "That's why more and more of them are getting out of the business and in rural areas it's hard to find people that want to come", says CEO of Pampa Regional Medical Center, Brad Morse.

      The lack of physicians in rural areas is making it harder for small town residents to find adequate medical care. This shortage is caused by the inability of public hospitals and health care centers to provide financial incentives to medical school graduates. "The smartest kid on the block isn't going to want to go into medicine anymore. The money's just not going to be there for them", says Morse.

      T he inability to find a physician that will accept Medicare or Medicaid isn't the only concern. T he quality of healthcare is also at risk.

      "You can have everybody insured but nobody takes insurance plans then what's the point," says Dr. Andrew Alpar, Amarillo optometrist.