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April 3, 2013

Healthcare law changes may result in physician shortage

Changes in U.S. healthcare law has U.S. medical schools expanding to meet an expected need for more graduates.

Wall Street Journal research

A recent Wall Street Journal article said at least 12 new schools are opening and many existing ones are expanding. The expected enrollment is estimated to produce 5,000 additional graduates by 2019.

Unfortunately, the expansion may not do much to quell possible doctor shortages unless the medical residencies also increase to help accommodate the influx of graduates.

Most residencies fall between three and seven years and are on-the-job training for medical school graduates. Even though there are currently more residency openings than students, that may quickly change.

Medicare and Medicaid funding residencies

Currently, Medicare funds about 90 percent of the residencies and Medicaid, along with other sources fund the rest, with a total of about 104,000 residencies yearly. But the number of federally funded residencies has been frozen now for more than 15 years, which is causing concerns the medical community won’t be able to handle the need to continue training new professionals.

With nearly 20,000 students enrolled in their first year of medical school in 2012, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts the United States will face a shortage of 62,900 doctors in as few as three years and a shortage of as many as 140,000 doctors by 2025.

ACA and the doctor shortage

Couple that with the Affordable Care Act, which will give health insurance to 30 million more Americans, which is where the expected shortage will really be felt most.

If you are looking for a residency and have special considerations, such as trying to obtain one in the same geographical location as your significant other, you may want to read this article for tips on how other couples have made it work.

Read more in the Wall Street Journal article here >>> 



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