The threat of a specialty physician workforce shortage: 7 insights from Dr. Hunt Batjer

Practice Management

By 2025, the nation will experience a physician shortage of between 46,000 physicians and 90,000 physicians, based on an Association of American Medical Colleges study. Neurosurgeon Hunt Batjer, MD, of Dallas-based University of Texas-Southwestern, wrote about the negative impact of a shortage of specialty physicians on patient care, according to Morning Consult.

Here are seven insights:


1. The United States will be short between 28,000 specialists and 63,000 specialists by 2025.


2. Already, more patients are seeking specialty services, specifically in cardiology, urology, dermatology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, gastroenterology and neurosurgery.


3. In rural areas, patients do not have access to any type of specialty care.


4. About 40 percent of the physician workforce is 55 years or older, and specialty training is extensive.


5. Dr. Batjer believes the nation needs to ramp up the number of residency slots.


6. He points to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 limiting graduate medical education funding as a reason for the lack of residency slots.


7. The Alliance of Specialty Medicine is asking Congress to remove the GME funding limitations.


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