AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may have trouble finding a primary care doctor.
As Austin’s population grows, plenty of people are experiencing increased wait times and delays in health care.
This is a direct result of primary care deserts — when there aren’t enough healthcare workers to provide primary care for most of the local population.
According to Teladoc Health — a telehealth company founded in the Lone Star State — only 9% of counties have enough primary care providers to treat their residents.
Currently, both Travis and Hays Counties are designated as areas with a primary care shortage.
Within the Austin area, the average wait time to visit a primary care doctor is 26 days.
Teladoc Health family medicine doctor Hussein Saghir says his number of new patients has doubled over the past year.
“As the population grows, we’re able to link individuals that geographically wouldn’t be able to be linked together and answering the primary care shortage,” he said.
Although Dr. Saghir is based in Detroit, MI, he’s been able to treat Texans online through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.
The state law which made Texas part of the Compact went into effect in 2021 but applications weren’t accepted until last March.
The Compact, which now includes 37 states, the District of Columbia and the Territory of Guam, expedites medical licenses — making it easier for doctors licensed in other states to treat patients in Texas.
Since March of last year, more than 1,300 doctors have been licensed in Texas through the Compact.