RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The workforce of Virginia’s primary care doctors is up to 25% smaller than previous estimates, according to a new study led by Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine.

The research team counted 20,976 active physicians in Virginia. However, only 5,899 of whom were providing primary care services, such as wellness exams, in Virginia between 2015 and 2019.

“I became a family doctor because I wanted to make sure that my community had access to thoughtful, well-resourced care,” said Alison Huffstetler, M.D., the lead author of the study. “That’s what drives my care every day, and I hope that every family can find equitable, high-quality primary care in their own neighborhoods.”

A release from VCU stated that the results of the study would hopefully help Virginia legislators and planners implement policy changes to ensure equitable access to primary care across all communities.