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White-Wilson Medical Center Strives to Offset Growing Physician Shortage

FORT WALTON BEACH, Florida – November 14, 2013—The shortage of physicians is a growing issue nationwide. Population growth and the rapid expansion of the number of Americans over the age of 65 will greatly increase the medical needs of the general population. This issue will be compounded by the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to increase the need for physicians in the next couple of years. 

Fifteen million patients will become eligible for Medicare, while 32 million younger Americans will become newly insured as a result of healthcare reform. In addition, one-third of physicians are expected to retire in the next 10 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The need is greatest for primary care physicians, which includes Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that fewer medical students are choosing careers in primary care, and instead are opting to become specialists. 

“White-Wilson is aware of the need for primary and specialty care physicians, and we are making unprecedented investments in our community’s future to accommodate the growing needs of our patients,” said White-Wilson Medical Center CEO, Alan Gieseman. “In addition, to increase access to physicians in our community and to provide a higher level of care, White-Wilson will welcome a total of thirteen new healthcare providers in 2013. We have also expanded our Immediate Care Clinic hours and are adding a new White-Wilson Clinic in Navarre.”

The physician shortage is expected to increase over the next several years, and individuals in smaller, underserved communities may find themselves driving 100s of miles for medical care. There are currently parts of Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa Counties that are considered medically underserved according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Various studies have also indicated that our community is specifically underserved in Primary Care, including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. 

“In a community this size, it is not unusual for patients to drive to larger markets, such as Pensacola or Birmingham, to receive healthcare,” said Gieseman. “It is important to us to offer patients quality primary and specialty care right here in our community, and we will continue to grow as the needs of our community grow.”

White-Wilson has been making efforts to meet the community’s healthcare needs since Dr. White opened the first doctor’s office on Brooks Street in 1946. Since then, WWMC has grown to over 20 different specialties, more than 70 healthcare providers, a number of ancillary services, and is the largest outpatient-imaging provider in the region, providing access to primary and specialty healthcare along the Emerald Coast. White-Wilson currently has eight locations throughout Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Destin and will open its ninth Clinic in Navarre in December 2013. 

“I have been with White-Wilson Medical Center since 1985 and I have never seen this many new physicians start in one year,” said White-Wilson Medical Director, Dr. Karl Metz. “We are undergoing a period of unparalleled growth.”

White-Wilson will welcome the following new healthcare providers in 2013:
  • Dr. Christopher Cave, Family Medicine in Navarre
  • Dr. Robert Ebert, Internal Medicine in Fort Walton Beach
  • Dr. Kurt Eppley, Immediate Care in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Niceville
  • Dr. Evan Meeks, Pediatrics in Bluewater Bay
  • Dr. Kane Schaphorst, Pulmonology/Critical Care in Fort Walton Beach
  • Dr. Joy Shen, Immediate Care in Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Niceville
  • Dr. Andrew VanBrocklin, Pain Management in Fort Walton Beach
  • Dr. Yuan Wang, Hospitalist in Fort Walton Beach
  • Dr. David Wartenberg, Family Medicine in Navarre
  • Melissa Delsid, ARNP, Gynecology in Fort Walton Beach
  • Michael Hutto, ARNP, Immediate Care in Navarre
  • Susan Shaffer, ARNP, ENT in Fort Walton Beach 
  • Paul Tartarilla, ARNP, Pediatrics in Fort Walton Beach
“While our practice continues to grow, the focus on quality healthcare remains the driving force behind this organization,” said Gieseman.

About the White-Wilson Medical Center:
White-Wilson Medical Center is one of the largest multi-specialty physician groups on Florida's Emerald Coast. With 70 providers, 20 different specialties, and multiple locations throughout Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Niceville, White-Wilson provides a range of healthcare services to fit most needs. White-Wilson employs state-of-the-art technology, coupled with skilled and experienced providers, friendly and caring staff, and the convenience of "one-stop" shopping. Visit www.white-wilson.com for a list of specialties and services. 


Fort Walton Beach 850.863.8100   |   Destin 850.269.6400   |   Niceville 850.897.4400

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