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'Alarming' Physician Shortages Lie Ahead

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, November 14, 2013

While the reasons for the projected doctor shortage are clear—population health issues, shrinking physician reimbursements, workforce issues, and residency training insufficiencies—the path toward a solution is not.

Perhaps you've seen reports saying that physician shortages may not be as bad as once feared. Maybe you believe that a greater push toward using mid-level providers is reason for hope among healthcare execs. It's no surprise that scope of practice laws are being challenged in several states.

Don't buy it, says Atul Grover, MD, PhD, chief public policy officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, based in Washington D.C.

"We can live in a make-believe world or live in the world we are in. It's going to be a lot tougher to fill those gaps," Grover says of potential physician shortages. "There's cultural issues, there's reimbursement issues…. We haven't trained enough doctors… There's definitely a shortage."

Current utilization patterns suggests that by 2020 there will be a national shortage of 91,500 physicians – 45,400 primary care physicians and 46,100 subspecialists. Recent data suggest that advances in care, such as a 50% reduction in mortality for cardiovascular disease, will only expand the need for more physicians, Grover says in an article in this month's Health Affairs. Lidia M. Niecko-Najjum, a senior research and policy analyst at the AAMC, co-authored.

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7 comments on "'Alarming' Physician Shortages Lie Ahead"


savita (11/29/2013 at 9:41 PM)
oh really? Dr, Dave, you are yet to know millions of female medical work force who have been working on same terms as their male colleagues and yet caring for their family needs without compromising professional durties all over world. it was really unfortunate to come across a prejudiced sexist comment like this. you need to correct yourself.

Bill Schlesinger (11/16/2013 at 2:21 PM)
So when does The Cap Get Lifted On Residency Slots?

Daniel (11/15/2013 at 6:26 PM)
There aré a lot of physician who are trained outside and do not have a chance to get a residency spot. Most of the residency spot just go to people familiar with the program directors. Thera ano equality. In other words There are thousand of physician without opportunity to enter in the system. Just look how many apply and how many match.