WASHINGTON, June 11, 2021 / PRNewswire / – According to new data released today by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), United States could see an estimated shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, including shortages in primary and specialty care.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many of the deepest disparities in health and access to health care services and exposed vulnerabilities in the health system,” said the president and chief of the management of the AAMC. David J. Skorton, MD. “The pandemic has also underscored the vital role that physicians and other health care providers play in our nation’s health care infrastructure and the need to ensure that we have enough physicians to meet the needs of the nation. America.”
Physician shortages predicted by 2034
Primary care (e.g. family medicine, general medicine
Between 17,800 and 48,000 doctors
Non-primary care specialties
Between 21,000 and 77,100 doctors
– Surgical specialties (e.g. general surgery,
– Between 15,800 and 30,200 doctors
– Medical specialties (eg cardiology,
– Between 3,800 and 13,400 doctors
– Other specialties (eg anesthesia,
– Between 10,300 and 35,600 doctors
The seventh annual study, The complexities of physician supply and demand: projections from 2019 to 2034, was conducted for AAMC by the Life Science division of IHS Markit, a global information company. This analysis, conducted in 2019 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, includes supply and demand scenarios and has been updated with the latest information on healthcare delivery trends and status. health workforce, such as data on the work of physicians. retirement times and trends.
“Doctors and other health care professionals dedicate their careers to keeping people healthy and caring for us when we are sick. Over the past year, these individuals and their families have made enormous personal sacrifices to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and we owe them immense gratitude, ”Skorton said.
In his testimony at a recent congressional hearing on tackling the severe health worker shortage, Skorton noted that the problem of clinician burnout, which has been escalated by the pandemic, could bring physicians and other health workers to reduce their hours or speed up their retirement plans.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Demographics, especially population growth and aging, continue to be the main driver of increased demand from 2019 to 2034. During that time, the U.S. population is expected to grow 10.6%, from about 328 million to 363 million, with an expected increase of 42.4% for those aged 65 and over. As a result, the demand for medical specialties that primarily cater to older Americans will continue to increase.
- Much of the medical workforce is approaching the traditional retirement age, and supply projections are sensitive to the workforce decisions of older physicians. More than two in five active physicians in the United States will be 65 or older in the next decade. Their retirement decisions will dramatically affect the scale of the national labor shortages. Additionally, according to the AAMC’s 2019 National Physician Sample Survey, 40% of practicing physicians nationwide felt exhausted at least once a week before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis – and the increased clinician burnout problem could cause doctors and other health care professionals. reduce their hours or retire earlier.
- While marginalized minority populations, people living in rural communities, and people without health insurance had the same health care use patterns as populations with fewer barriers to access, up to 180,400 physicians additional would now be needed. COVID-19 has highlighted disparities in health and access to care among underserved populations, and this analysis highlights systematic differences in health services by insured and uninsured individuals, individuals in areas urban and rural, and individuals of different races and ethnicities. These estimates, which are separate from the shortage projection ranges, help illuminate the magnitude of current barriers to care and provide an additional benchmark against which to assess physician supply adequacy.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, physician shortages were being felt by patients across the country. In 2019, the US Health Resources & Services Administration estimated that an additional 13,758 primary care physicians and 6,100 psychiatrists would have been required to remove health worker shortage area designations for areas with primary care shortages. and mental health. According to public opinion research conducted by the AAMC in 2019, 35% of survey respondents said they or someone they knew had struggled to find a doctor in the past two years. This is an increase of 10 points from the question asked in 2015.
At the end of 2020, Congress took an important step in addressing the physician shortage by adding 1,000 new Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) positions – 200 per year for 5 years – targeting rural communities and underserved urban centers and other teaching hospitals nationwide. , ending a nearly 25-year freeze in Medicare support for GME. Biparty legislation recently introduced in the US House of Representatives and Senate, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021, would build on this historic investment and help expand the physician workforce by adding 2,000 medical residency positions. funded by the federal government each year for seven years.
“Solving the physician shortage requires a multi-pronged solution that begins with ensuring that our country educates and trains enough physicians to meet America’s needs, and includes improving access to care, diversifying medical manpower and ensuring that our country is ready to meet current and future public health needs and crises, ”said Skorton. “Now more than ever, the nation must invest for the long term in the health care workforce. The time to act is now.”
This press release is available online here.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a non-profit association dedicated to transforming health through medical education, healthcare, medical research and community collaborations. Its members are all 155 accredited medical schools in the United States and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; more than 400 teaching hospitals and health systems, including medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs; and over 70 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC directs and serves the medical schools and teaching hospitals of the United States and their more than 179,000 full-time faculty members, 92,000 medical students, 140,000 medical residents and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in biomedical sciences. Additional information on AAMC is available at aamc.org.
SOURCE Association of American Faculties of Medicine