Minnesota doctors may be in short supply
By Don Davis / Forum News Service
ST. PAUL — Primary care doctors soon may be in short supply, a Minnesota Hospital Association report showed on Monday.
There could be a shortage of 850 primary care doctors by 2024, the study shows.
The study blames the shortage on a growing and aging population, along with fewer doctors graduating and increased retirements. Many fields are experiencing higher retirement numbers as baby boomers age.
The hospital study shows about 1,350 primary care doctors are expected to leave the profession in the next decade from the approximately 5,000 in Minnesota today. At the same time, 1,300 doctors are expected to begin practice. Combined with increased demand, that would leave an 850-doctor shortfall, the study shows.
“Minnesota health care organizations will need to take action to ensure they have access to the talent needed to successfully deliver quality care,” said the study’s chief author, Rick Sherwood of Towers Watson.
Hospital association officials say they will ask federal and state lawmakers to make changes that would encourage more people to pursue physician degrees. Some laws discourage taking medical courses, while federal cuts are being discussed in the medical education field, the association reported.
The association suggests developing a statewide health-care task force to look into the doctor situation. It also seeks more state medical education funding.
The group also says tele-medicine should expand to use more technology to serve patients remotely.
“Given the challenges of moving additional spending proposals through Congress, solutions at the federal level may continue to be elusive,” Massa said. “More action at the state level is critical.”
The study said the registered nurse supply should remain strong.