A Looming Crisis
Market analysts predict that some important changes will occur within the medical industry during the next decade as a result of demographic trends. Within ten years, large numbers of seniors will begin seeking more health care services as the population in the USA ages. During this same period, many physicians, nurses and senior-level medical managers and administrators will retire, aggravating an already significant provider shortage among primary care physicians.
The current doctor shortage encompasses both primary care physicians and specialists, however. North Carolina, Nebraska and Washington rank among the most hard hit areas. Primary care physicians earn less than specialists in most cases. Today, only one in four physicians opts for a general medical practice.
The Residency Gap
For several decades, the United States has trained an insufficient number of physicians in hospital residencies to meet projected demand. During the Clinton Administration, policymakers severely restricted reimbursements to medical facilities by Medicare for residency positions. The rules essentially capped the number of available paid residencies at many financially-strapped hospitals to posts available in 1996.
This situation fueled an existing provider shortage in under-served locations. In order to sit for specialized medical board certification examinations, physicians must complete a variable number of years of residency training following their internships. Now, as a new wave of retirements loom, experts predict a serious doctor shortage by 2025.
Filling Occupational Shortages
To compensate for this shortfall, states such as Minnesota have responded with some creative measures. Among innovative strategies, these approaches have led to the recruitment of health care professionals in under-served rural locations:
Attracting immigrant physicians to the United States;
Expanding the treatment authority of paramedics, professional physician assistants and nurses;
Increasing state funding for residency positions;
Encouraging urgent care clinic establishment to ease the burden on hospital emergency room admissions;
Promoting online telemedicine centers;
Encouraging the formation of rural health care associations to help recruit health care providers.
Increasing Provider Revenues
Many of these approaches will likely ease shortages in some under-served locations. To obtain SEO marketing assistance to enhance the profitability of your health care practice or life sciences enterprise, contact (919)256-3788. Best Edge SEO offers specialized services including web design and development and search engine optimization for medical practitioners and other health care professionals.