Shortage of adult care doctors expected to reach 40K by 2025

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Based on the current prediction of U.S. demographics, adult care generalists will be deficient by 35,000-44,000 by 2025, although the supply for care of children should be adequate, according to a study published online April 19 in Health Affairs.

Jack M. Colwill, MD, a professor emeritus of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, Mo., and colleagues predicted that population growth and aging will increase family physicians’ and general internists’ workloads by 29 percent by 2025.

The researchers said they expect a 13 percent increased workload for care of children by pediatricians and family physicians. However, the authors also project that the country will be able to maintain an adequate supply of generalist care for children provided by physicians practicing family medicine and general pediatrics.

However, Colwill and colleagues reported that the supply of generalists for adult care, adjusted for age and sex, will increase 7 percent or only 2 percent if the number of graduates continues to decline through 2008.

To combat the problem, Congress is considering the Physician Shortage Elimination Act, which would spend millions to provide more scholarships for medical students and expand residency training programs throughout the U.S.