It’s a fact: The doctor shortage in the US is only growing larger with each passing year. What are medical schools doing to close the gap, and what does that mean for premeds?
A growing problem: Not enough primary care physicians in the US
According to projections by Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the shortage will continue to grow until a peak is reached in 2020. By 2020 there will be 90,000 fewer doctors than needed to properly serve the nation’s healthcare needs.
The situation becomes even more troublesome because of the Affordable Care Act. It gives 30 million more people access to health insurance coverage. An aging population with significant healthcare needs also contributes to the shortage.
Medical schools propose increased admissions as a solution
Medical schools are now taking measures to meet the public demand for doctors by increasing medical school admissions.
Each medical school is responsible for a decision about higher enrollment that can be used to counter the shortage, Cleveland.com reported. According to the publication’s statistics, medical schools in Northeast Ohio have registered an all-time enrollment high. Nationwide, the increase in admissions is 18 percent higher than admission figures from a decade ago.
Kirch said that an increase in admission is the only way to prevent a healthcare crisis. If the shortage continues gaining momentum, patients in the US will soon begin noticing deterioration in the healthcare services that they are getting.
At the same time, a medical school needs to consider several important aspects before bringing up admission figures. The lack of equipment, faculty and sufficient lab space are three of the main reasons for the need of a gradual rather than drastic enrollment increase.
Will increased admissions solve the problem?
Medical schools will also have to invest in new campuses for the enrollment increase to be sustainable.
According to Kirch, consistency in the current trend will lead to a 30 percent enrollment increase on a national scale by 2016. The students enrolled in medical schools this year are expected to be a highly qualified class because of their academic backgrounds and interest in community services.
Still, AAMC stated that the enrollment increase on its own will be inefficient in terms of overcoming the crisis.
Good news for premeds
If you’re considering medicine as a career goal, your skills as a doctor are more needed than ever, and your future job is in very high demand.
Learn the most effective medical school admissions strategies and get direct access to an admissions expert as a member of the MCAT Club here at INQUARTA.