Sunday, June 16, 2013

Extreme Lack of Geriatricians Set to Hit the Eldery Population

My opinion:  I just wanted to touch upon this issue because I think it will be the major focus of the doctor shortage in the future.  The key information from the article is that there are only 7,000 geriatricians in the country - we currently need about 14,000!  And the numbers will continue to get worse.  I think this problem would be lessened if the pay scale was changed to value doctors who are most needed.  According to, the average geriatrician makes $166,000 a year, much less than other specialties.  There are probably many primary care physicians who make more than this, as well!  Meanwhile, cardiologists, radiologists, and other types of doctors may be paid well over $600,000 a year.  Some might think that all of these salaries are way too high, and though this may be true, there should also be more salary equality, where most doctors make about the same amount.  To further illustrate the issue, a geriatrician once told me that very few people in the field can work at assistance-based homes for seniors.  The way the system is laid out, a geriatrician would have to see about 800 patients a month!  So most geriatricians end up working elsewhere like in hospitals or offices, but they cannot be where the seniors are actually living.  Hence, many of these 7,000 geriatricians are probably not located where they are most needed.  Any other ways to help fix this problem?  Feel free to comment.



Baby Boomers' aging adds strain to physician shortage

by Katie Peralta
May 29, 2013

Baby Boomers Revised
U.S. Census Bureau/Katie Peralta, Medill
The over-65 population is expected to more than double by 2050, bolstered by Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, adding to the strain on an already existing shortage of physicians.
As aging Baby Boomers propel the population of older Americans toward doubling by 2050, their prospects for adequate medical care are dwindling. All current demographic and physician trends are bleak, but some proposed solutions could alleviate the problem.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 40.3 million people age 65 or older in 2010, and by 2050 there will be up to 88.5 million. About 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, according to the John A. Hartford Foundation, a non-profit focused on senior care.

There will be a shortage of 130,000 physicians across all specialties by 2025, according to the American Medical Association’s estimate. One reason is that Baby Boomers, who make up a large part of the physician workforce, are retiring, many of them earlier than earlier generations of physicians.

Additionally, there are only about 7,000 geriatricians nationwide, which is about half of the number needed currently and far less than what will be needed in the future, said Marcus Escobedo, program officer at the Hartford Foundation. 


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