The Physician Shortage Is Well Documented

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The projected physician shortage is well documented. Several estimates have been made as to the severity of the shortage with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts required 46,000 physicians to meet demand and a study by Cowell et al putting the number at 44,000 by 2025 (1). The reasons for this increased demand are numerous. For starters, as John Prescott, AAMC chief academic officer, says, “There 's 10,000 more baby boomers every single day in the U.S. and those individuals tend to require additional care” (2). Those baby boomers requiring care will undoubtedly include retiring physicians; 2,504 family physicians are expected to retire in 2015 alone with that number only expected to grow in upcoming years (1). In addition to the increased care inherently required by elderly patients the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded medical insurance to several that have never had access before; while this is great news to those with coverage for the first time it also increases the number searching for a physician. A report prepared for Congress stated that the ACA was poised to increase the shortage of physicians by 8,000 by 2025 (4). Even current clinics have been forced to turn down 250 potential patients a day due to a lack of physicians causing sick persons to drive hours to find care (3). Compounding the problem, new physicians tend to shy away from the 60-hour weeks worked by their predecessors instead looking for a better work/life balance (2, 3).
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