Health watch: Physician Wait Times Are Increasing and Physician Shortages Are Happening Sooner than Later

. In areas mentioned in marginalized communities, such as poor black and brown communities, it will take even longer for physician attention and follow-up.

DePeau-Wilson (September 16, 2022) reports that the projected data on physician shortages are of significant concern in the healthcare industry, especially the unique physician shortages affecting the country. Dr. Atul Grover, executive director of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), reports that the physician shortage crisis will impact us even more in the upcoming years. 

 DePeau-Wilson explains that the situation has increased even more due to an aging U.S. population. As a result, general family medicine, pediatric medicine, or geriatric medicine is expected to fall short of demand for their services by up to 48,000 physicians in the next decade.

Many Americans are living longer lives which require more healthcare services over time. The U.S. population over 65 is expected to grow 42% in the next ten years. Robeznieks (April 13, 2022) reports, “Everybody is going to feel it, but it’s going to affect people most who are the most vulnerable,” he added. “People who are already financially under-resourced, on Medicaid, with multiple chronic illnesses that don’t have a lot of money, will suffer the most.”

The shortages are already affecting patients through longer wait times at doctor’s offices and pharmacies. In addition, the healthcare system will feel the strain, especially in the country’s rural areas. AAMC (June 11, 2021) reports that “if marginalized populations, including people in rural communities who are uninsured, access to adequate healthcare services, would need about 180,000 more physicians to meet that demand.”

Major cities have some of the country’s highest physicians per capita ratios. Still, physician appointment wait times are increasing to weeks to see a physician. In areas mentioned in marginalized communities, such as poor black and brown communities, it will take even longer for physician attention and follow-up.

Alltucker (June 26, 2020) adds that the Association of American Medical Colleges underscores the nation’s doctor shortage could worsen over the next 15 years, primarily for black physicians. About 2.6% of the nation’s doctors in 2019 identified as black or African-American.

The projected growth of racial minority populations will drive demand for new doctors over the decade. The Narrative Matters!

References:

AAMC. (June 11, 2021). AAMC Report Reinforces Mounting Physician Shortage. AAMC Report Reinforces Mounting Physician Shortage | AAMC

Alltucker, K.(June 26, 2020). U.S. doctor shortage worsens as efforts to recruit Black and Latino students stall. U.S. doctor shortage worsens, especially for Black and Latino groups (usatoday.com)

DePeau-Wilson, M. (September 16, 2022). Appointment Wait Times Continue to Rise Amid Concerns of Physician Shortages. Appointment Wait Times Continue to Rise Amid Concerns of Physician Shortages | MedPage Today

Robeznieks,A. (April 13, 2022). Doctor shortages are here—and they’ll get worse if we don’t act fast. Doctor shortages are here—and they’ll get worse if we don’t act fast | American Medical Association (ama-assn.org)


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