For years, there have been concerns about whether the supply of physicians can meet the demand of our nation’s population – a population that is growing in size, age and diversity. One consideration: The physician workforce is aging as many physicians approach retirement. And physicians are increasingly looking for opportunities that allow them to balance their professional and family obligations.
The new health reform law also poses a new set of questions about how the increase in the insured population will affect the demand on the health care workforce. Will it increase the shortage among primary care physicians? What about specialists? How much of the workforce shortage can be alleviated by payment incentives in the new law for both primary care and general surgery, and other new incentives to practice in underserved areas? Are there enough effective efforts in place to recruit and train ethnically diverse and culturally sensitive physicians?
To answer these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored a November 15 briefing. Panelists were: Tom Ricketts of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research in Chapel Hill, NC; Jay Crosson of the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy and former vice-chairman of MedPAC; and Ed Salsberg of the National Center for Workforce Analysis, HRSA. Ed Howard of the Alliance and David Krol of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation co-moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)