Association of American Medical Colleges

Association Warns U.S. Could Be Short 90,000 Doctors By 2025

A new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts the United States will face a significant shortage of doctors unless actions are taken to further support graduate medical education and improve healthcare delivery.

The United States could see a shortage of up to 90,000 physicians by 2025, according to a new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, which is calling on Congress to increase support for graduate medical education (GME).

In a new report [PDF] released last week, AAMC explained that with the changing and aging U.S. demographic, as well as increased access to healthcare among Americans, demand is outpacing supply, and there could be a shortage of anywhere between 46,000 and 90,000 physicians 10 years from now.

“The doctor shortage is real—it’s significant—and it’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need,” AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., said in a statement.

Contrary to previous reports, the potential doctor drought will not be limited to primary care physicians. In fact, AAMC noted in a document posted online, the shortage is expected to evenly affect physicians in both primary care and specialty care areas.

AAMC clarified that the greatest physician scarcity will be in the demand for surgeons who specialize in treating diseases common among older people.

“An increasingly older, sicker population, as well as people living longer with chronic diseases, such as cancer, is the reason for the increased demand,” Kirch told reporters during a telephone news briefing last week, The Washington Post reported.

To help alleviate the shortage, the group is asking Congress to increase funding for GME by increasing the cap on medical resident spots at teaching hospitals by 3,000 doctors a year. That number represents about a 10 percent increase from current levels, according to AAMC’s report.

Additional steps, such as innovation in healthcare delivery and better use of technology, will also need to be taken to address the potential shortage, AAMC noted.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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