Doctor Shortage

Is the nation training enough physicians?


The medical community is debating whether the nation will have enough physicians in coming decades to serve the health care needs of U.S. residents. The Association of American Medical Colleges forecasts a deficit of up to 90,400 doctors — particularly specialists — by 2025, citing mainly a growing and aging population. But other professionals say such projections are exaggerated. Ending unnecessary medical procedures and making greater use of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacy-based clinics and technology that allows patients to communicate remotely with medical personnel could reduce the demand for doctors, they argue. Despite the debate, government officials and private organizations are working to increase the supply of physicians, especially in rural and low-income urban areas, where shortages exist. Efforts include expanding medical school slots ...

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