Doctor shortage eases in county |

Doctor shortage eases in county

Three new doctors have relocated to western Nevada County during the past few months, easing the longstanding shortage of doctors in the area, according to hospital administrators.

But three to four additional doctors are needed to tackle the problem, at least for now, they said.

Statistics show that the county is one of the oldest in the state and the median age is continuing to grow, making the doctor shortage an ongoing problem.

“The major shortage we have is with primary care physicians,” said Craig Wilcox, director of business development with the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. “A lot of young physicians today want to join larger groups. When a doctor goes solo, he’s responsible for everything.”

Within the past two years, western Nevada County has lost seven primary physicians due to retirements and relocation, Wilcox said.

“A typical primary care physician has about 2,000 to 3,000 patients,” he said. “So if we lose seven doctors, as many as 20,000 people could be without doctors.”

Wilcox has been leading an effort to recruit the doctors. The recruiting campaign includes discussing the lifestyle benefits of the area, such as the quality of the schools and close proximity to outdoor activities.

The new doctors who have relocated here are George Rice, Heather Lucas-Ross and Susan Greenawald.

Rice came from Los Angeles, where he was the chief resident at the University of Southern California. He now has a private practice in Grass Valley.

Lucas-Ross just completed her residency with the Sutter Health Family Medicine Residency Program in Sacramento. She’s working at the Whispering Pines office of the Miners Family Health Center.

Greenawald is a neurologist, who had a private practice in Sacramento. She now works at the Mountain View Rehabilitation Medical Associates in Grass Valley.


To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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