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Report says Mass. has a shortage of medical specialists

Massachusetts continues to face a shortage of doctors in key specialties while struggling to recruit and retain enough physicians to work at community hospitals and in areas of the state outside Boston, according to a report released Tuesday.

At the same time, more doctors say they are willing to participate in the state’s push to overhaul the health care payment system, including planned initiatives like account­able care organizations and global payments.

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The findings are included in an annual report by the Massachusetts Medical Society that looks at the status of the physician workforce in the state.

The report also found a small decline in the number of physicians who reported that they have altered or limited their practice for fear of being sued.

The study found seven of 18 specialties to be in critical or ­severe shortages. That is one fewer than in 2011.

Shortages in internal medicine, psychiatry, urology, and neurosurgery met the study’s criteria of critical. Three other specialties were classified as ­severe: family medicine, derma­tology, and general surgery.

The medical society also found what it called ‘‘mixed results regarding the recruitment and retention of physicians in the state.’’

The study said that more than 94 percent of community hospitals reported significant difficulty in filling vacancies.

That is compared with about 7 percent of the state’s teaching hospitals reporting similar difficulties.

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