North Carolina's Health Care Crisis
North Carolina is on the verge of a health care crisis.
There is a growing shortage of primary care physicians exacerbated by significant population growth in the state and across the Southeast, an aging population, and continued debates around national health care reform.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine reported the following in a comprehensive 2009 study on the state of primary care in North Carolina:
- The number of medical school graduates choosing Primary Care dropped 50% between 1997 and 2005 while graduates increasingly choose a specialization instead of Primary Care.
- The growth and aging of North Carolina's population is expected to increase demand (measured by annual visits to physicians) by 34% between 2004 and 2020.
- Persons 65 and older will increase by 33.7% between 2007 and 2020.
- North Carolina has approximately 7,660 Primary Care Physicians or 8.8 per 10,000 population, which is below the national average of 9.43 per 10,000 population.
Campbell University: Providing Solutions
Campbell University, located in rural Harnett County, enrolls students from all 100 North Carolina counties in undergraduate and graduate level programs, including law, pharmacy, business, education, and divinity. Students come to Campbell from all socioeconomic backgrounds and then often return to work and serve in the communities they call home.
Campbell University began addressing health care issues in 1985 with the establishment of the nationally acclaimed School of Pharmacy, which was the first new pharmacy school founded in the United States in more than 35 years. In addition to offering the Doctor of Pharmacy program, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Clinical Research and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2009, the name was formally changed from the School of Pharmacy to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences to provide additional health science programs, including the Physician Assistant program (2011), a Master of Public Health degree (2012) Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (2014), and Nursing (2014).
Approximately 60% of practicing osteopathic physicians practice in the primary care specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Many osteopathic physicians fill a critical need for physicians by practicing in rural and other medically underserved communities.
With enrollment at 150 students per year, Campbell will become the second largest medical school in the state.
Partnerships are being established with medical facilities across the state. Potential teaching hospitals for Campbell University medical students include the following:
- WakeMed Raleigh Campus (Wake County)
- New Hanover Regional Medical Center (New Hanover County)
- Southeastern Regional Medical Center (Robeson County)
- Forsyth Hospital (Novant Health) (Forsyth County)
- Presbyterian Hospital (Novant Health) (Mecklenburg County)
- Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital (Harnett Health) (Harnett County)
- Cape Fear Valley Regional Medical Center (Cumberland County)
- Alamance Regional Medical Center (Alamance County)
- Central Carolina Hospital (Lee County)
- Johnston Medical Center (Johnston County)
- Harnett County Hospital – Planned Upon Construction
The Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine will make a significant impact on the health and well-being of North Carolinians. It will also greatly benefit the region's (Raleigh-Durham combined statistical area) economic activity and vitality.
The feasibility study for the School of Osteopathic Medicine includes an economic impact report prepared by an independent economic consultant. The combined impact of construction of the facilities, operational expenses, student and research spending, spending by graduates in residency training, and spending by graduating doctors, the School of Osteopathic Medicine is estimated to have a total economic impact of approximately $300 million over its first ten years of operation and first five years of graduates.
Peak year employment associated with the school of medicine will realize over 1,100 jobs.