A recent data report from the Association of American Medical Colleges found that physician demand continues to grow faster than supply. The report projected that the U.S. will be short more by 46,000 – 90,000 physicians by 2025, 25-30% of which will be in primary care. Demographics—specifically, population growth and aging—continue to be the key driver of increasing demand. Additionally, retirement decisions are projected to have the greatest impact on physician supply, with more than one-third of all currently active physicians being 65 or older within the next decade.
These projected physician shortages have the potential to significantly impact patient care access, but can be ameliorated by allowing the millions of highly trained and qualified health care professionals who are not physicians to practice at the top of their scope. Our Coalition continues to be a voice for the fact that patients want and should have access to a comprehensive choice of health care providers without undue restrictions. As the discussion around physician shortages continues, we believe it is important to message the positive trend that non-M.D./D.O. health care professionals are growing in numbers and are qualified and licensed to perform a wide range of health care services, which can fill many of the shortage gaps. This will be an important area of focus for CPR over the next few years as our priority is to ensure that state legislative and regulatory barriers that prevent non-M.D./D.O. health care professionals from practicing to their full scope be revised to better reflect the demands of the current health care system.