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US risks 139K physician shortage by 2033, AAMC warns

Fotolia Dive Brief:

The United States could see an estimated shortage of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians, including notable shortfalls in specialty care, by 2033, according to the American Association of Medical College’s annual report released Friday.

The report predicts a shortage of primary care physicians between 21,400 to 55,200 by 2033. Across specialty physicians, there could be a shortage of 33,700 to 86,700.

An aging population continues to be the primary driver for increasing demand for medical services and staff. At the same time, aging physicians could take away from the needed labor supply, as more than two of five currently active physicians will be 65 or older within the next decade. And growing concerns about physician burnout suggest physicians will be more likely to accelerate than delay retirement, the report found.

For years, many have raised concerns about an impending physician shortage. AAMC’s findings are in line with previous years, though this latest report was conducted prior to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may exacerbate the issue.

“The challenge of having enough doctors to serve our communities will get even worse as the nation’s population continues to grow and age,” AAMC President and CEO David Skorton […]

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