Sept. 30, 2010
The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) Center for Workforce Studies has released new physician shortage estimates that, beginning in 2015, are 50 percent worse than originally anticipated prior to health care reform.
The United States already was struggling with a critical physician shortage and the problem will only be exacerbated as 32 million Americans acquire health care coverage, and an additional 36 million people enter Medicare.
Some key findings include:
- Between now and 2015, the year after health care reforms are scheduled to take effect, the shortage of doctors across all specialties will quadruple. While previous projections showed a baseline shortage of 39,600 doctors in 2015, current estimates bring that number closer to 63,000, with a worsening of shortages through 2025.
- There also will be a substantial shortage of non-primary care specialists. In 2015, the United States will face a shortage of 33,100 physicians in specialties such as cardiology, oncology, and emergency medicine.
- With the U.S. Census Bureau projecting a 36 percent growth in the number of Americans over age 65, and nearly one-third of all physicians expected to retire in the next decade, the need for timely access to high-quality care will be greater than ever.
- The number of medical school students continues to increase, adding 7,000 graduates every year over the next decade. However, unless Congress supports at least a 15 percent increase in residency training slots (adding another 4,000 physicians a year to the pipeline), access to health care will be out of reach for many Americans.
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