In a country that is already plagued with a shortage of doctors expanding health care coverage will add to this strain. In a recent study conducted for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which is a non-for-profit association representing all US and Canadian medical schools and teaching hospitals, by HIS Inc., it was predicted that the shortage of doctors could increase to 46,000 to 90,000 doctors by 2025! This number includes a shortage of 12,500-31,100 primary care physicians. This prediction was made on a variety of factors including a growing and aging population, limited residency training programs, and doctors choosing more lucrative specialties rather than primary care.
AAMC has developed a “multi-pronged” approach to tackle this issue including bettering team-based care as well as a call to action for more residency training programs across the US. AAMC has declared a need for the funding to train an additional 3000 doctors per year in order to make a dent in the physician shortage countrywide. Since it can take 5-10 years to properly train physicians these positions need to be implemented now! Earlier this month hospital leaders, including Jeffrey Berns, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Joshua Goldstein, Northwestern University School of Medicine’s associate dean for medical education; and Andrew Thomas, M.D., chief medical officer at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, all spoke about the importance of increasing federal GME funding. Since funding for residency positions was frozen in 1996 GME has been drastically affected. With a growing population of insured individuals it is more important than ever to urge congress to increase funding for GME.