March 15, 2017

Report reaffirms physician shortage, highlights 'looming crisis' in CT

The country continues to face a projected physician shortage over the next decade, creating a risk to patient care, according to a report released Tuesday by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The report highlights what one Connecticut health official called a "looming crisis" in Connecticut as its population continues to age and physician numbers decline.

"Based on previous studies, we already know that there is a shortage of primary care physicians," Matthew Katz, CEO of the Connecticut State Medical Society, said in a statement. "What is particularly concerning about the new AAMC study is that it predicts very high demand for medical and surgical specialties, with expected shortfalls between 33,500 and 61,800 by 2030, outpacing the primary care shortage for the first time."

The latest AAMC projections align with previous estimates, showing a projected shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors. The report puts the shortages in four broad categories: primary care, medical specialties, surgical specialties, and other specialties.

By 2030, the study estimates a shortfall of between 7,300 and 43,100 primary care physicians. Non-primary care specialties are expected to experience the shortfall Katz cited.

"Connecticut already has one of the oldest physician populations in the country," Katz said. "That puts us on the fast track to encounter this physician shortage even sooner if we do not do act now to incentivize physicians to stay in Connecticut."

CSMS has called on state legislators to reform malpractice insurance laws and to create a loan forgiveness programs for medical students.

AAMC suggestions include increased federal funding to create new medical residency positions.

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