Emergency physician shortage settling in

The current state of emergency physicians is bad enough, with the 40,000 clinically active emergency doctors far from enough to treat the growing number of patients showing up in the ED. The shortage is particularly bad in the rural areas of the U.S., as well as the central part of the country.

As if that's not bad enough, it's looking as though this shortage will continue for several decades, according to a new study, which appears now in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

It's not as though nobody wants to be an emergency physician--but it does appear that too few of the veteran ED doctors have specialized training. The researchers, who looked at data on all 940,000 U.S. physicians, concluded that only 44 percent of ED physicians graduating 20 years ago or more were trained or board-certified in emergency medicine.

Today, 98 percent of emergency physicians who graduated within the past five years were emergency medicine trained or board certified in emergency medicine. However, taken as a whole, only 31 percent of practicing ED physicians have neither distinction.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

Related Articles:
Bill would increase payments for ED physicians
Emergency doctor group slams U of Chicago's ED diversion plan