According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, patients in Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Idaho will face a serious family physician shortage by the year 2020. The problem is predicted to be the worst in these states because they have a higher proportion of elderly residents, but almost every state will be effected by the shortage. Patients in rural and inner city settings will likely face the greatest difficulty finding a doctor, which will only increase the amount of patients headed to the emergency room for care. The number of medical students pursuing a career in primary care has dropped off 50 percent since 1997 because more students are pursuing higher-paying medical specialties. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends increasing doctor pay and reforming liability laws in order to attract more medical students to family practice.
For more on the growing physician shortage:
- see this press release