Patients Blame Docs for Bad News; Retirement Worries; More

Marcy Tolkoff, JD


May 20, 2015

In This Article

US Doc Shortage Could Hit 90,000 in 10 Years

The nation will face a shortage of 46,000-90,000 physicians by 2025, according to a study from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which represents medical schools and teaching hospitals.[2,3] The AAMC claims the study is the first comprehensive national analysis that accounts for both demographics and recent changes to care delivery and payment methods. It estimates that demand for physicians will exceed supply by about 130,600, with primary care practitioners accounting for roughly one half of the shortfall.

"The doctor shortage is real—it's significant—and it's particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need," said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD.

The study presents projections that reflect the potential impact of several healthcare delivery and policy scenarios, including increased demand for medical services due to expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and new payment and delivery models, such as patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations. Shortages are expected to persist despite the increased role of advanced practice nurses.

To help offset the impending shortage, the AAMC says it's necessary to innovate and boost efficiency, and increase federal support to train at least 3000 more physicians per year. "The trends from these data are clear: The physician shortage will grow over the next 10 years under every likely scenario," said Kirch. "Because training a doctor takes between 5 and 10 years, we must act now, in 2015, if we are going to avoid serious physician shortages in 2025."[4]


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