Physician shortage is getting worse

Brace yourselves: Demand for physicians continues to outstrip supply, and the problem is likely to get worse, according to new data.

One source underscoring the problem is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which concluded last month that the healthcare sector added 28,500 jobs in October. That included 4,800 jobs in physician offices and 10,000 in hospitals.

While the BLS report doesn't break down these jobs into specific job titles, another report by healthcare staffing firm AMN Healthcare Services offers a more-detailed picture. The firm's report, conducted in partnership with the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, surveyed 284 hospital chief executive officers between June and August of this year.

Researchers found that about 95 percent of those CEOs reported a physician shortage, with a vacancy rate of 11 percent, potentially compromising care in almost half of those cases. This was despite the fact that 34 percent of the CEOs had increased their physician staff roster within the previous six months.

Meanwhile, physician vacancies aren't the only major headache hospital CEOs face. Ninety-one percent of CEOs said that they were seeing a nursing shortfall, though the vacancy rate was just 6 percent.

To get more statistics from these studies:
- read this American Medical News piece

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