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Physicians Shortage Showing No Signs of Slowing Down

New data indicates that the physician shortage is here to stay. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States is expected to experience a shortage of 40,800 to 104,900 doctors by 2030. Previous estimates only applied through 2025, but this year’s projections were extended through 2030 to account for the time needed to train physicians beginning medical school in 2017.

“As our patient population continues to grow and age, we must begin to train more doctors if we wish to meet the health care needs of all Americans,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD in released statement.

The study incorporated a wide range of scenarios, such as the increased use of advance-practice clinicians like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, reform to payment and delivery systems, and the potential for older physicians to delay retirement. By 2030, the study estimates a shortfall of between 7,300 and 43,100 primary care physicians. Non-primary care specialists are expected to experience a shortfall of between 33,500 and 61,800 physicians.

While these findings remain fairly consistent with 2015 and 2016 projections, patient demand is still expected to increase, especially for surgical specialists. In addition, the amount of new physicians in primary care and other specialists are not keeping pace with the aging population.

To help alleviate the physician shortage, the AAMC says they “support a multi-pronged solution, including expanding medical school class size, innovating in care delivery and team-based care, making better use of technology, and increasing federal support for an additional 3,000 new residency positions per year over the next five years.”

You can read the full AAMC report here.