US needs 52,000 new primary care physicians to meet demand by 2025
From international law firm Arnold & Porter LLP comes a timely column that provides views on current regulatory and legislative topics that weigh on the minds of today’s physicians and health care executives.
According to a study published in the most recent Annals of Family Medicine, the total number of office visits to primary care physicians (PCPs) will increase from 462 million in 2008 to 565 million in 2025. Not surprisingly, the United States will need 52,000 additional PCPs to meet the increased demand for services.
Although the study attributes most of the increased need to the gradual growth and aging of the country’s population, the authors estimate that more than 8,000 additional PCPs will be needed to account for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual insurance coverage mandate. The ACA enacted a number of provisions to expand the primary care workforce, such as $168 million in funding through Health Resources and Services Administration to boost enrollment in primary care residencies and $75 million to train new Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. However, these additional measures may not produce enough new PCPs in time to meet the service demands created by the ACA (which are expected to peak in 2014 and 2015).
The full text of the article may be accessed here through the journal’s website.
Ted Lotchin, JD, MPH, can be reached at Arnold & Porter LLP, 555 12th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004-1206; 202-942-5250; email: Ted.Lotchin@aporter.com