• Simone Brown

Serious Physician Shortage Looming

You think you have long wait times in the doctor’s office now? Just wait… According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States will experience a shortage of 120,000 physicians by the year 2030. That’s only 11 years, people! It seems obvious that dramatic measures should be instituted right away.

The AAMC recommends a multi-pronged approach to mitigating the shortage, including about a 10% increase in residency slots, federal funding for incentive programs, and encouraging diversity recruitment programs (“New Research”). I’m not sure what they mean by “diversity programs”, but it seems like they may have left out an obvious addition. How about easing some of the grueling and expensive requirements that foreign medical graduates must complete to practice medicine in the States?

It’s amazing to me that someone fresh out of residency can legally practice on their own, but a foreign-trained doctor with many years of experience is prohibited without navigating a long and costly process. The state legislatures should think of creative ways to close the licensing gap, like Massachusetts and California.

In fact, former American Medical Association President, Robert Wah, stated, “We [the AMA] support the development and distribution of model legislation to encourage states to amend their Medical Practice Acts to provide that graduates of foreign medical schools meet the same requirements for licensure by endorsement as graduates of accredited U.S. and Canadian schools”(Sopher). So, the buck stops with the state lawmakers.

“New Research Shows Increasing Physician Shortages in Both Primary and Specialty Care.” AAMCNews, 11 Apr. 2018, news.aamc.org/press-releases/article/workforce_report_shortage_04112018/.

Sopher, Philip. “Doctors With Borders: How the U.S. Shuts Out Foreign Physicians.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Nov. 2014, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/doctors-with-borders-how-the-us-shuts-out-foreign-physicians/382723/.

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