In the U.S., it has generally been the case that going to medical school ensured your career as a doctor. However, the bumpy road to becoming a physician is now lined with even more obstacles for medical students and graduates from around the world.
Currently, there is an influx of students entering medical school, yet post-graduation, they are not obtaining residency positions. The 2019 NRMP Match report on the number of residency positions available compared to the amount of applicants illustrates this strongly:
Many experts call this the “Residency Bottleneck.” While more doctors are graduating and medical schools are expanding, medical residency positions are not. In 2019, 18,929 U.S. medical graduates applied for residency; a whopping 1,155 did not Match according to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). The numbers are worse for international and foreign medical graduates who face even more difficulty as they compete with U.S. graduates. This past season, 11,949 international and foreign graduates applied for residency in the U.S., 4,924 of them did not Match.
If the demand for new residency positions is not met, patients will be left scrambling in the emergency room, potentially not even seeing a doctor. This dilemma thwarts preventative care measures which are emphasized by health professionals today. Unless measures are taken to address the residency bottleneck the U.S. will face a shortage of 90,000 doctors in 10 years (Association of American Medical Colleges). Medical groups, lawmakers, and prospective health professionals are alarmed by these figures.
Groups such as the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Osteopathic Association are lobbying for bills introduced in the House and Senate which are aimed at adding 3,000 residency slots every year from 2015 to 2019. Rather than waiting for Congress to intervene, the team at Residents Medical have expanded residency positions by starting ACGME-accredited training programs in community-based hospitals. In most cases, the institution adding a residency program is in a rural disparaged area, with a low ratio of doctors to patients.
Residents Medical has taken a proactive, ground-up route in addressing this problematic bottleneck. The organization aids these hospitals in all steps of accreditation, including completing the Complex Program Information Form, outlining goals, objectives, core curriculum, rotations, and arranging affiliations with appropriate accredited medical universities.
Without change, there will be literally thousands of doctors being unable to practice medicine. Residents Medical is working day-by-day to ensure this outcome is not the case.
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