By: Andrea C. Santiago
Just how bad is the physician shortage in America? Most experts and industry analysts agree that the shortage of doctors is growing and will be severe in years to come. A few holdouts think that the shortage is exaggerated or misconstrued. Meanwhile, most of us who work in the industry see evidence every day that the physician shortage is a very real issue. It’s true that some more popular suburban and urban areas are saturated with doctors. However, this does not mean that the supply of physicians is enough to meet the growing demand of the American population as a whole. Consider the following data:
- The United States currently has 15,230 fewer primary care practitioners (PCPs) than needed. (Bloomberg.com)
- Twenty percent, or 1 in 5, U.S. licensed physicians are age 65+, as of 2010. (American Medical News)
- The AAMC predicts a shortage of 63,900 doctors by 2015, a shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2020, and a shortage of 130,000 doctors by 2025.
- COGME recommends 60-85 PCPs per 100,000 residents, and 85-105 specialist physicians per 100,000 residents.
- It takes approximately 10-14 years to train a new doctor.
- Of the 100,000 physicians currently in training, 25% of them are graduates of international medical schools. (HealthcareFinanceNews.com)
- The number of residency training slots has been capped at the same level for the past 15 years; about 15,000 doctors enter the workforce each year. (Bloomberg.com)
- An additional 32 million Americans gain health insurance as of 2014, via The Affordable Care Act (ACA, i.e. health reform) passed in 2010.
- About 11,000 seniors become eligible for Medicare every day as of 2012. – (Kathleen Sebelius, via CNSnews.com)
In light of the above, how serious do you think the physician shortage is nationally, and how does your immediate area compare to the national statistics?