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AAMC Annual Report: Projected Shortfall of Physicians Continues to Grow

March 20, 2017

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently released an updated report that projects that, for the third consecutive year, physician demand will continue to grow faster than the U.S. supply of physicians.

The findings of The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2015 to 2030 project a shortfall of between 40,800 and 104,900 physicians by 2030.

Physician shortages are expected to span both primary care and specialties:

  • Primary care physicians: between 7,300 and 43,100
  • Non-primary care specialties: between 33,500 and 61,800

Although the supply of primary care physicians, medical specialists, and other specialists is projected to grow, increases in demand will continue to stress the physician workforce as the U.S. population continues to age and more heavily utilize existing services.

According to AAMC’s press release, the organization continues to endorse a multi-pronged approach to work towards resolving workforce shortages:

  • Expansion of medical school class size
  • Increased innovation in care delivery and team-based care
  • Better utilization of technology
  • Increased increasing federal support for an additional 3,000 new residency positions per year during the next five years

The projected shortages are especially troublesome in Pennsylvania, which has a high percentage of older residents. Pennsylvania’s senior population (age 65+) is expected to increase nearly 50 percent by 2030.

Pennsylvania’s physician population is aging too. Half the practicing physicians in Pennsylvania are 50 or older.

Estimates show that Pennsylvania will need 10 percent more primary care physicians to meet health care needs in the coming decades.

In light of these shortages, HAP continues to advocate to ensure Pennsylvanians have access to high-quality care:

  • Telehealth expansion and reimbursement for services
  • Modernization of Pennsylvania’s nursing law to allow advance practice nurses to practice to the full potential of their education and training.
  • Implementation of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact that was enacted by Pennsylvania in the fall of 2016

For information about state advocacy in support of doctors and nurses in Pennsylvania, please contact Michael Consuelos, MD, HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration.

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