New AAMC report shows continuing projected physician shortage

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | March 26, 2024 Business Affairs
According to new projections published today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), the United States will face a physician shortage of up to 86,000 physicians by 2036.

“Given the new findings, it is clear that both sustained and increased investments in training new physicians are critical to mitigating projected shortfalls of doctors needed to meet the health care needs of our country,” said AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD. “Most importantly, if additional investments critical to increasing the supply of physicians fail to materialize, projected shortfalls of doctors will be larger than presented in this latest report.”

The new study, The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections From 2021 to 2036, was conducted for the AAMC by GlobalData Plc. This analysis was conducted in 2023 and includes multiple supply and demand scenarios. It was updated with the latest information on trends in health care delivery and the state of the health care workforce, such as data on physician work hours and retirement trends.

By comparison, the shortage projected in the new report is smaller than the findings demonstrated in the last report published by the AAMC in 2021. The difference is due to a new set of scenarios based on hypothetical future growth in the number of medical residency positions nationwide. The new scenarios demonstrate the positive impact on physician supply if states, teaching health systems and hospitals, Congress, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continue to build upon their investments in graduate medical education (GME).

“Without funding beyond current levels, the graduate medical education growth trajectories hypothesized in this year’s report will not materialize,” Skorton cautioned. “The new data show a smaller projected overall shortfall, demonstrating that this strategy can work if we continue to invest in the physician workforce. The medical education community and policymakers are making real progress in our efforts to meet the projected health care needs of our communities, but we must not be complacent. We must continue to work with Congress to build on their recent bipartisan investments in Medicare-supported graduate medical education.”

The physician workforce and the need for more physicians continues to drive the AAMC’s advocacy on GME.

“We know that people struggle to find new physicians — both primary care and specialists — so the real-world impact of the physician shortages in our research findings is felt every day by people all over the country,” said AAMC Chief Health Care Officer Jonathan Jaffery, MD, MS, MMM. “While we’re grateful that our advocacy with Congress and CMS to create additional residency positions has been able to expand access — especially in rural communities and for mental health services — we also know that many of our friends, families, and neighbors still cannot always get the medical care they need. The ongoing physician shortage is a major part of the problem.”

You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment