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Doctor Shortage May Reach 120,000 by 2030

April 12, 2018
 
 

The U.S. could see a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030, according to a report published Wednesday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The association urged medical schools to train more physicians and use different strategies in doing so. It also encouraged the federal government to intervene with funding and legislation.

According to the report, “The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2016-2030,” the shortage of physicians in primary care and medical, surgical and other specialties is projected to range from 42,600 to 121,300.

The report attributed the shortage to a growing and aging population. The U.S. population is estimated to rise by almost 11 percent by 2030, and the over-65 age group is expected to increase by 50 percent.

The association offered several ways to reverse the shortage, including training more physicians; educating future physicians in team-based, interprofessional care; developing innovative care-delivery and payment models; and integrating cutting-edge technology and research into the patient care environment. In addition, the association encouraged the government to support federal incentives and programs, increase funding for residency training, and introduce legislation to add 3,000 residency positions over the next five years.

“With the additional demand from a population that will not only continue to grow but also age considerably over the next 12 years, we must start training more doctors now to meet the needs of our patients in the future,” Darrell G. Kirch, the association's president and CEO, said in a statement. “To address the doctor shortage, medical schools have increased class sizes by nearly 30 percent since 2002. Now it’s time for Congress to do its part. Funding for residency training has been frozen since 1997, and without an increase in federal support, there simply won’t be enough doctors to provide the care Americans need.”

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