IMGs & The US Doctor Shortage
The Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) New Research predicted more than a 100,000 doctor shortage, by the year 2030, in the United States. Rural and non-metropolitan areas are the most undeserved.
There are various factors that contribute to this alarming number, which include population growth, aging Americans, and retired/retiring physicians. US Population is expected to increase by 12% by the year 2030. American residents aged 65 and older are expected to increase by 55%. Simultaneously, the number of people aged 75 and older will grow by 73%. In addition, the AAMC reports that nearly a 1/3 of all active practicing physicians will retire within the next 10 years.
Seniors today live longer, have more active lifestyles, and require more care. Furthermore, medical advances have increased the number of people able to live with multiple chronic illnesses.
Below is a breakdown of the Predicted Shortages by Specialty:
Primary care– between 8,700 and 43,100 physicians.
Non–primary care specialties (medical specialties, surgical specialties, and other specialties) are expected to experience a shortfall of between 33,500 and 61,800 physicians.
The number of Surgeons is projected to have little growth while they are expected to increase in demand, resulting in a shortage of between 19,800 and 29,000 surgeons.
Other specialties (Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Radiology, Neurology, and Psychiatry, among others) have a projected shortage of between 18,600 and 31,800 physicians.
The AAMC continues to advocate federal support for additional residency positions annually over the next five years.
Overall, the AAMC supports delivery innovations, team-based care, better use of technology, but most importantly training new doctors.
How does this affect International Medical Graduates? (IMGs)
With the impending shortage of healthcare providers, the thousands of trained IMGs can provide a talent pool able to fill some of the void. According to the ECFMG, there are roughly 7,000 – 9,000 immigrant physicians applying to the match every year with about 53% overall succeeding in being placed into a residency slot. IMGs make up a disproportionate number of residency positions filled in primary care fields and underserved areas. This presents a fantastic opportunity for the IMG seeking to eventually work as a Primary Care Physician (PCP), an area of biggest need in the USA.