With more doctors approaching retirement age, are you prepared for a doctor shortage?


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With more doctors approaching retirement age, are you prepared for a doctor shortage?

Patient in consultation with doctor in examination room.

By 2034, about two out of five working doctors will be 65 or older. Burnout, exacerbated by COVID-19, is likely to accelerate, rather than delay, the current workforce of doctors, who have retired at nearly 70.

As a result, the United States will be short of 38,000 to 124,000 full-time doctors across all specialties by the end of 2010, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

It takes at least 10 years to fully train a doctor, and most likely longer, so if the United States wants to avoid a crisis-level shortage of qualified doctors, these 10-year projections are likely. should be addressed immediately.

Compounding the problem is America’s aging population and deteriorating medical conditions. Today, about one in six Americans is over the age of 65. In the coming decades, this demographic will make up nearly a quarter of the US population. Chronic diseases are also prevalent, increasing the need for improved primary care capacity. Her 80% of adults over the age of 65, or about 45 million, have at least one of her chronic conditions, the most common being arthritis, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

DocBuddy cited data from the Department of Health Resource Services to visualize the projected shortages in the healthcare industry, especially among physicians.

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Shortages are expected across the healthcare industry

Bar chart showing the most projected scarcity of healthcare roles by 2035. Nurses are number one, with more than 375,000 workers below demand.

It’s not just doctors who are in short supply. The United States faces shortages of nearly every type of critical health care worker, including nurses, therapists, counselors, and social workers. About 1 million registered nurses in the United States are over the age of 50 and will reach retirement age around the same time as many practitioners.

In addition to age, stressful working conditions are another contributing factor to the health professional shortage. About 35% to 54% of nurses and doctors in the United States felt burned out before the pandemic, according to the National Academy of Medicine. The pandemic has exacerbated these stressful situations, with more than 50% of all public health workers reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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US could be short of more than 18,000 general physicians by 2035

Line chart of the most scarce doctors by 2035. General medicine and family medicine are projected to be the most in short supply.

The rapid aging and disease of the U.S. population, an aging healthcare workforce, and widespread burnout that has led to exodus from the industry are just a few of the reasons why the United States is unable to meet healthcare demands. Limited training capacity and funding is also a problem, as some medical students struggle to match residents.

In the United States, there are 10,000 chronically poorly matched doctors who have graduated from medical school but are repeatedly turned down from training programs.

Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers are the largest funders of graduate medical education programs such as residencies and internships. However, in 1997 funding was limited by provisions of the Balanced Budget Act. As a result, increased funding for GME programs has not been accompanied by an increase in patient numbers.

Nurses, physician assistants and registered advanced practitioners will fill the gap in primary care over the next decade.

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Medical graduates from abroad could fill the gap

A doctor is listening to a patient’s heartbeat in the clinic.

According to the American Medical Association, medical graduates abroad often practice in under-resourced areas that serve the most at-risk communities. The sheer amount of paperwork IMG has to go through, from over-regulation and immigration applications to the difficulty of obtaining sponsorship, is a barrier to realizing the full potential of this talented healthcare provider. It is

According to the American Immigration Council, internationally trained physicians make up more than 50 percent of all physicians in primary care deficient areas, serving more than 20 million Americans. Foreign-trained doctors are also more likely to care for high-risk populations, such as those with lower incomes, less education, and those in rural or “medical desert” areas.

Story editing by Brian Buzynski. Copyedited by Kristen Weggin.

This story was originally published on DocBuddy and produced by
Distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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