Tuesday, June 24, 2008

US Faces Shortage of 44,000 General MDs by 2025

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- By 2025, the wait to see a doctor could get a lot longer if the current number of students training to be primary care physicians doesn't increase soon, according to a new University of Missouri study. Jack Colwill, professor emeritus of family and community medicine in the MU School of Medicine, and his research team found that the U.S. could face a shortage of up to 44,000 family physicians and general internists in less than 20 years, due to a skewed compensation system that rewards specialists increasingly more than primary care practitioners.

MP: Looks like the recent explosion of retail health care clinics might be happening at just the right time (see chart above, from Merchant Medicine)?

Thanks to Ben Cunningham for the pointer.


At 6/24/2008 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to Canada!

At 6/24/2008 7:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/24/2008 7:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I believe regenerative medicine, stem cells, genetics and proteomics point the way to a vastly increased demand for medicine by 2025. That leads me to believe that your probably way too optimistic.

At 6/24/2008 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conversely, improvements in public medicine might materially change the outcome actually lowering demand for medical services.

For example, it was predicted that the health care system would be swamped by heart attack victims as the boomer generation matured. The development of statin drugs has substantially reduced the number of heart attacks completely changing the dynamics on the ground.

The phrase "all things being equal" is often used by economic textbooks, but, funnily, all things do not remain equal, especially when one is discussing technological advances.

At 6/24/2008 10:15 PM, Blogger The Happy Hospitalist said...

unfortunately, retail nurse practitioners at Walmart have not the experience nor the qualifications to manage patients with multiple chronic medical conditions. The patients that that require a comprehensive care physician to treat and manage. The population obtaining care in a retail clinic are the walking healthy, not the chronically ill that need access.

At 6/25/2008 12:41 AM, Blogger Bruce Charlton said...

Any US shortage of MDs is entirely self-imposed - or rather imposed by guild lobbying by the American Medical Association.

There are thousands of top notch, experienced UK doctors, and of course physicians from everywhere else in the world too, who would jump at the chance of working in the US - if the process was not so chancy, time-consuming, expensive and humiliating.

At 6/25/2008 8:30 AM, Blogger Malachi said...

Have you heard what the AMA is going to do about it?

They're going to push to ban the sale of cigarettes at retail outlets with health clinics.

New AMA Policies

Banning the sale of tobacco products and/or byproducts in retail outlets housing store-based health clinics: Store-based clinics are located in pharmacy and large retail chain stores, very often these facilities also sell tobacco products. Because the use of tobacco products leads to health problems, many believe the sale of these products in a facility that provides health care is counterproductive. Today the AMA voted to support efforts to ban the sale of tobacco products and/or byproducts in retail outlets housing store-based health clinics.

"It's ridiculous for stores that house health clinics to sell tobacco products," said AMA Board Member William Dolan, MD. "To keep the objective of getting and keeping patients healthy, the sale of tobacco products must be banned from any health care facility."

Yeah right. We wouldn't want to promote health care where they sell cigarettes.

Here's another interesting policy:

More aggrandizing in the guise of protecting people

Direct-to-consumer advertising and provision of genetic testing: More than 1400 genetic tests are available for purchase directly from consumers, without a prescription or any involvement from a health care professional. A new set of policy recommendations were adopted today to protect patients who may use a direct-to-consumer genetic test. Among the recommendations are, that genetic testing be carried out under the supervision of a qualified health care professional, that appropriate organizations be encouraged to develop criteria for the advertising of DTC genetic tests, and that physicians are provided with more information on the types of genetic tests available so that patients can be appropriately counseled on the potential harms.

"The availability of direct-to-consumer genetic tests is increasing as advances in genetic research reveal the association between genes and disease," said AMA Board Member William Hazel, MD. "Encouraging all genetic testing to require supervision by a qualified health care professional, ensures they are being properly used and the results are being accurately interpreted and understood by patients."

At 6/25/2008 9:35 AM, Blogger bob said...

If there are no price controls there will be no shortages .... or surpluses

At 6/25/2008 10:29 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, how much of this smacks of frivolous torts?

There are approximately 24 paid malpractice claims per day in 2007...

I wonder just how many actual cases are filed?

At 6/25/2008 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The solution is vouchers for medical education. Imagine if students could leave medical school with little or no debt...!!


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