There’s a shortage of doctors all across the nation and its affecting patients right here in western Colorado.
Getting a doctor sounds like a simple task but patients in the Grand Valley are frustrated by the difficulty of the process.
"Its sad, it's really sad" explains Debbie Martin, who works at an in-home health care agency.
Martin says she sees it often. Doctors either move or retire and patients are left to search for a new one while living without their prescriptions.
"We have patients in the valley that can't find a doctor who depend on these meds and they're just withering away" said Martin.
She says it can take weeks to months to find a new doctor who will accept new patients.
"I had a friend of mine who waited 3 to 6 months and just couldn't find a doctor and had to live with the pain, which is just not right" explained Martin.
Dr. Donald Nicolay, the chief medical officer at community hospital, say that even he wasn't immune to this familiar problem.
"When I came to the Grand Valley I had to fill out an application to get a doctor and I was surprised that I had to do that but I had to fill out the applications and then they had to accept me as a patient" explained Nicolay.
Community Hospital says they're hiring more doctors but the demand is just too high and those without doctors will have to resort to other means.
"In cases like that, urgent cares and emergency rooms are where patients have to fall back to, and of course that's an expensive way to get medical care" said Nicolay.
Medical schools across the country have incentives for students to go into general practice but then they change paths.
"Most of the physicians that go into internal medicine end up sub specializing and becoming hospitalists" explained Nicolay.
All of this is just adding to the difficulties of people looking for medical help.
"It frustrates me that we have patients in the valley that can't find a doctor" said Martin.
The continued increases in medical costs and the shortage of doctors means the problem is only expected to get worse in the future.