Physician Shortage of 139,000 Projected by 2033

A recently released report commissioned by The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has projected a significant shortage of physicians by 2033. The report had some significant findings relevant to the projected deficit:

  • The overall shortage is projected to range from 54,100 to 139,000 physicians across all specialties.
  • The greatest impact of the shortage is projected to be in primary care specialties.
  • The anticipated retirement of physicians will also impact the supply of physicians in the coming years.
  • Medical and surgical specialties are also expected to experience a shortfall, although not as significant as the primary care specialties.

The projected growth in the United States’ population (10.4% to 361 million through 2033) also impacts the projected shortage as well as our aging population. The 65+ population is projected to grow by 45.1%.The aging physician workforce will have a significant detrimental effect since over 40% of the currently active physicians will be over 65 in the next ten years. The report noted that physician retirements might be accelerated, given the pressures of medical practice and potential burnout among physicians. Additionally, it is unknown how the current pandemic will impact the retirement or slow down of physicians in medical practice.

The impact of this projected shortage on communities across the country could be disastrous as they strive to meet the healthcare needs of their market area. Many communities across the country are struggling to maintain an adequate physician supply – especially in certain specialties. It is imperative that healthcare organizations maintain a finger on the pulse of their medical communities, requiring an ongoing evaluation of supply and demand as well as the well-being of its physicians. Addressing this potential concern will require several actions on the part of healthcare organizations as they focus on the needs of their patient population:

  1. A proactive (rather than reactive) recruitment and recruitment planning
  2. A current physician needs assessment that assesses projected deficits by specialty and is based on relevant quantitative data as well as qualitative information and input gained from its physicians
  3. An ongoing dialogue with its physicians about retirement and succession plans
  4. Addressing physician needs via employment models while incorporating the needs of independent physicians and practices
  5. Assessing the recruitment activities and offerings of their organization for competitiveness and efficiency

There are several approaches that organizations must consider as they begin to assess the potential impact of this projected shortage. Coker Group is a nationally recognized firm that has a long history of working with healthcare organizations in the areas noted above.

Contact us today to speak directly with Randy Gott about ways we can assist your organization with physician recruitment and planning needs.

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