More small doctors offices in New Jersey would qualify for the state's Business Employment Incentive Program under a bill that's been introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin.

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"Doctors are vital for our health and support a robust economy.  In addition to creating jobs in their offices and in related businesses, they keep New Jersey residents healthy and productive to keep the economy moving forward," said Handlin, a member of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.  "One way to attract more doctors to New Jersey and retain the experienced physicians we have is to offer incentives to expand their practices and create more jobs in our communities.  Job-creating grants have helped retain a variety of businesses and they can provide a powerful dose to help our doctors."

The legislation would assist growing medical practices by offering financial incentives through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's  Business Employment Incentive Program, of BEIP, which is specifically designed to give small practices tax relief.  New Jersey executed 33 BEIP agreements in fiscal year 2011 that are expected to generate 3,632 new jobs over the next couple of years.

A state task force has estimated New Jersey will be short 3,000 doctors by 2020 and Handlin has heard from more than 75 constituents who have experienced delays in getting appointments with their physicians.

"Those waits will not improve on their own because the number of patients is increasing while the number of doctors is decreasing.  It's a supply and demand reality that's creating headaches for doctors and patients," said Handlin.  "We can only curb the large, and growing, doctor shortage by getting creative and recognizing that we are in competition with surrounding states for the world class healthcare that our population needs more than ever."