TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Less service and more time spent in the waiting room could soon be coming to a doctor's office near you.
"We're getting older, we're getting fatter, we have more health problems," said Biff Williams, Dean of Indiana State University's College of Nursing, "so there's a need for more physicians, but we as a nation do not have the capacity."
The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts there will be a shortage of 100,000 medical personnel in less than a decade.
This will be caused by more people getting treatment through the Affordable Care Act, a growing number of doctors retiring, and fewer students going into medicine.
However, two local schools are trying to make a difference.
In the past six years, Indiana State University has added five new programs aimed at getting students into the medical field.
"If you see shortages in nurses, and you see shortages in physicians, and PA's and PT's, and social workers and dieticians, the average American is not going to be able to find the services that they need."
The issue is bigger than just getting students into the occupation.
Along with trying to combat the shortage of doctors and physicians, another problem is keeping those people in the area, making sure everyone has access to local care.
"The biggest shortage is in primary care physicians," said Taihung Duong, Associate Dean of Indiana University's Medical School. "By that I mean your family physician; the one you go to as soon as you have trouble with your health."
Without these local physicians, many people will be forced to go to emergency rooms, costing them thousands of dollars.
This is why Indiana University's medical center in Terre Haute started a program focused on keeping doctors in smaller communities.
"We can teach medicine, but we cannot teach people how to live in a small town or live in a rural area. So because they're familiar with that are and they're comfortable living in that area, they'll probably go back to that area."
Both schools working together to treat a problem before it's too late.
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