An Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit produced with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

KEY FACTS:

  • A shortage of more than 90,000 physicians is predicted to occur within the next 10 years— including 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and specialists.
  • Approximately one third of physicians could retire in the next decade.
  • Medical school enrollment will continue to increase by 7,000 graduates each year over the next
    ten years, but the number of residency slots has not kept pace with this increase as a result of
    the payment cap on Medicare’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) support.
  • The difference in the median annual income for subspecialists compared to primary care
    physicians is roughly $135,000, influencing many to consider higher paying specialties over
    primary care.
  • 11 percent of primary care physicians and 8 percent of surgeons practice in rural areas, making
    the total number of practicing physicians per person much lower in rural areas compared to urban areas.

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