By Amy B Wang, Associated PressDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) For years, Arizona has been trying to get new doctors to fill vacancies in its health system.
In a state with one of the highest rates of hospitalization and deaths from cancer, that hasn’t been easy.
But the state’s new appointment guidelines, signed Thursday by Gov.
Doug Ducey, could be the first step toward easing the pressure on hospitals.
“It will make our system stronger,” Duceys new chief of staff, Jeff Daley, said Thursday.
The guidelines, which were adopted by the Arizona Medical Association and the Arizona Hospitals Association, require that doctors fill vacancies within 24 hours and allow doctors to practice in the state.
Doctors who opt in can still practice in Arizona without needing an appointment.
The AMA has criticized the new rules, saying they will encourage doctors to leave the state, but Daley said the changes won’t necessarily mean that doctors leave.
“They’re going to stay in Arizona.
And they’re going do what they do best,” Daley told reporters.
“And they’re good people, and they’ll still be doing their jobs.
We’ll get them back into Arizona.”
Daley said he was concerned about a growing number of doctors who are already leaving Arizona for medical residency programs in California and elsewhere.
Daley also said he would ask the state Department of Health to set up a new regional office to assist Arizona hospitals with medical staffing issues.
Duceies office said Thursday that it plans to hold a public meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the recommendations.
Daley also promised to review how to manage Arizona’s medical-student population and its hospitals.
Arizona has a high-poverty rate, and the state has not seen a significant increase in the number of uninsured people in recent years.
The state’s share of the nation’s total population has fallen from 25.7 percent in 2000 to 15.9 percent in 2015.