NPR

Doctor Shortage In Rural Arizona Sparks Another Crisis In 'Forgotten America'

More than 70 rural U.S. hospitals have closed since 2010, and rural areas are likely to be short 45,000 doctors by 2020. It's one more example of the nation's division between haves and have-nots.
A mountain of mine tailings frame a Bisbee park — a legacy of the copper mines that once fueled the local economy. Source: Kirk Siegler/NPR

For Heather Gijanto, going to the doctor means taking a day off work and driving at least 60 miles round-trip from her home in McNeil, Ariz., to the town of Bisbee. And that's assuming there's a primary care doctor available in Bisbee to get her in.

"You select one doctor and then you find out a few months later that that doctor is no longer going to be available," Gijanto says. "So then you have to start the whole process over again. And then you find that doctor and, for whatever reason, that doctor leaves as well."

Gijanto is frustrated, and says she and her husband and their two young kids have had to change family doctors four

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