Special Report: Doctor Drop-out
POSTED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 10:10am
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 6:32pm
Tyler,TX — With all the implemented changes in health care, we are forgetting about the demand for physicians.
As the U.S. is growing, there's a demand for doctors.
Baby boomers are getting older and retiring, and among that group are physicians who will be calling it quits after a long career.
Experts say, America will be facing a doctor shortage and there will be a demand for primary care physicians.
"Could be anywhere from 25-30 thousand physicians in Texas and keep in mind that Texas will grow 50-million citizens by 2040," says Kirk. A Calhoun, MD., President of UT Health Northeast.
President Dr. Kirk Calhoun of UT Health Northeast says, medical schools are not graduating as many physicians.
"We're told our country is looking at an estimated shortage of more than 200,000 physicians, We have to convince more students to enter medical school, we have to build medical schools and we have to create a much larger number of medical graduate slots or residencies," says Dr. Kirk A.Calhoun.
Why the shortage?
A real shortage as of residency slots. This year we had 1,000 U.S. graduates who did not match for a residency slot," says Calhoun.
"There's a large amount of debt to pay for school, when I was in school it was about 125,000, when you got out and now it's over 200,000. This is my understanding in debt when you get out of school," says Dr. Hope Short, Short Family Medical Group.
Obamacare and a doctor shortage, many call it a bad combination.
Reports say, with the affordable care act, more than millions of Americans will have access to health insurance.
George Roberts, Chief Executive Officer, with Northeast Public Health District says,
"The estimates are over 30-million people through the affordable care act are going to have insurance that don't have insurance right now so that's in 20-14, so you're going to see the number increasing of people getting on Medicaid roles or other type of government assistance," says George Roberts.
So where will people go for their care with fewer doctors?
Reports say, physicians are experiencing new regulations, taking on more patients for less money, and believe their services are worth more.
"A lot of doctors who have been at a certain level of revenue for years are saying I'm going going to go backwards if I have a choice I'll just Opt out," says Tom Mullins, President & CEO of Tyler Economic Development.
Dr. Andrea Ellis of Trinity Mother Frances tells KETK, it's pretty hard to replace a physician, but a new movement in the medical field could support the expected shortage.
"Physicians extender, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners play a valuable role can definitely fill-in some gaps," says Dr. Andrea Ellis.
"There are more and more openings now who specialize in certain parts of the medical field because it takes some of the pressure off of the doctors having to provide all the services all the time," says Tom Mullins.
Roberts says, with medical enrollments growing and aging baby boomers we need more physicians.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the U.S.. population over the age of 62 will increase from about 40 million to more than 80 million by 2030, of that more than 14 million will have diabetes and more than 20 million will be obese.
Dr. Andrea Ellis tells KETK, residencies are pushed to be longer in order to accomplish the same training as they used to. She says, being a doctor is demanding and also rewarding, and priorities have changed for the next generation of physicians.
"I think this is a huge factor actually, that young doctors don't necessarily want to put in the 80-90 work weeks that I our predecessors often did," says Dr. Andrea Ellis.
"We've got a lot of issues and we've got to de-fund Obamacare," says Dr. Hope Short.
By meeting the growing demand of Texas medical graduates, it will prepare the future for a physician workforce in Texas.