The Florida physician shortage will escalate drastically over the next 10 years, according to a new study commissioned by the Teaching Hospital Council of Florida and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.
If current trends continue, the state, already facing the worst of the physician shortage, will be some 7,000 doctors short, according to Tim Dall, author of the study and managing director of IHS Global. "Over the foreseeable future, the ability of Florida to provide at least a national average level of care is about 7- to 10- percent below the national average," he told Health News Florida.
Tim Goldfarb, an executive vice president at UF Health Shands, said medical schools and lawmakers need to address the problem, according to Health News Florida. "Otherwise we know, that by 2025, we will be short at least 7,000 physicians in our state, many in critical areas including cancer care and in radiology and rheumatology as well as family medicine," Goldfarb said.
The study further broke down the data to Florida's 11 Medicaid regions, finding less populated regions will be more greatly affected. Drawing doctors to rural and nonmetropolitan areas is one of the biggest challenges for the impending shortage, as FierceHealthcare has reported.
Dall said the study is not a formal recommendation. "The question is, how can we best optimize things so that we have the right number, the right specialty mix of physicians, and that we can attract them and retain them in the state of Florida," Dall said.
The nation will be short by 91,000 doctors by 2020, according to some estimates, although many of the studies predicting physician shortages have proven inaccurate and overblown, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Retiring baby boomers, an aging population and the arrival of the Affordable Care Act have all been cited as instigators in the shortage, potentially leading to a national crisis. Some, however, see market-specific shortages as a far more likely threat.