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AAMC Hopes Congress will Fund More Residency Slots

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In the latest news on the physician-shortage crisis, John Commins over at HealthLeaders Media reports the latest projections from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The AAMC predicts the following: “Under a best case scenario, the nation's graying and growing population will contend with a shortage of at least 46,000 physicians within 10 years…

“That shortfall could hit 90,000 by 2025 if the healthcare sector fails to aggressively embrace and promote the use of non-physician clinicians, and adopt more efficient care and payment models such as patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations, AAMC said.

“In addition, AAMC wants Congress to immediately fund an additional 3,000 residency slots each year, in addition to the 27,000 to 29,000 residency slots already in place. Graduate Medical Education has been capped for the past two decades. What was a supposed to be a temporary cap has become permanent…

“…The AAMC projections include a shortfall of 12,500 to 31,100 primary care physicians, and between 28,200 and 63,700 subspecialists.”

Janis M. Orlowski, MD, chief health officer for AAMC, said their request “is a modest increase in that cap right now” and “does not alleviate the physician shortage in any of the different scenarios that we are looking at. We see it as a multipronged approach.”

Ultimately, the bill proposes $10 billion being spent on these slots across 10 years.

Dr. Orlowski compared the situation to supply and demand. Yes, physician supply will go up between 2013 and 2025, she said, but “total demand for physician services is projected to grow as much as 17 percent.”

“The bottom line is that the physician shortage is real,” she concluded. “It is significant. It's particularly serious for the kind of medical care our aging population will need, and it must be addressed today, in 2015, if patients are going to be able to get the care they need in 2025. The good news it is not too late to fix this. Congress needs to act now."

As physicians who are looking for jobs, what do you think? Will funding more residency slots help fix the physician-shortage crisis?

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