Future physician shortages could be smaller than originally forecast



The Association of American Medical Colleges, after taking another look into its crystal ball of supply and demand, reported that the future will have smaller shortages of physicians than it forecast in 2010.

All of the scenarios analyzed in the new AAMC study suggest “that demand for physicians in 2025 will exceed supply by 46,100 to 90,400.” In a 2010 study, the AAMC projected a shortage of 130,600 physicians by 2025.

The differences between the estimates are the result of several factors: the Census Bureau reduced its population projections for 2025 by 10.2 million people, the number of medical school graduates has risen from 27,000 to 29,000 a year, the number of physician extenders is increasing, and new assumptions were made involving the current shortage of psychiatrists that affected future levels of care delivery, the AAMC said.

The new study also included a scenario featuring full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to account for 2% of the projected increase in physician demand. That effect will be most noticeable in the surgical specialties, which could see a 3.2% increase in demand as a result of ACA implementation, the report said.

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