A recent KSDK.com article provides some insight into a potential doctor shortage that could affect our nation’s healthcare industry by the end of 2015. A host of federally funded programs are currently employing thousands of primary care physicians, but what will happen once a large portion of the funding expires at the end of next year? As demand for quality primary care physicians continues to grow rapidly, it is easy to see how this could turn into a massive problem.
The article states that “the U.S. is expected to need 52,000 more primary care physicians by 2025, according to a study by the Robert Graham Center, which does family medicine policy research. But funding for teaching hospitals that could train thousands more of these doctors expires in late 2015.” The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, and an aging American population are all drivers of the physician demand. Erin Shields Britt, a Health and Human Services representative, believes that the Obama administration’s new budget, if approved by Congress, will help to add jobs for physicians, nurses, and pediatricians. The ACA, “significantly increases the number of primary care providers in underserved areas and increases Medicare and Medicaid payment for services delivered by primary care practitioners.” Many industry experts feel more needs to be done.
The article goes on to highlight some of the issues facing the healthcare industry’s looming physician shortage. The constantly rising cost of medical school, slow adoption of practice laws, and relatively low primary care physician compensations are all issues that need to be addressed. In order to correct this issue before it’s too late, healthcare leadership and key members of the Government will need to be able to work in tandem towards a resolution.