Senior Health: Is There a Shortage of Primary Care Doctors?

Senior Health: Is There a Shortage of Primary Care Doctors?

It’s been reported time and time again: A gradual increase in life expectancy, paired with a booming aging population, will lead to record demands for senior health care providers in the U.S.

But something that isn’t mentioned as often in the news is the fact that America’s primary care physicians are aging as well, with more than half of U.S. physicians being over the age of 50 in 2012.

This is expected to lead to shortages of primary care doctors over the next decade or so, as even the number of young doctors finishing medical school is projected to fall short of demand in the coming years.

Edward Pullen, M.D., shared his thoughts and predictions on the doctor shortage on KevinMD. A few of his key points are adapted below.

  • Pullen predicts that as soon as early next year, it will be increasingly more difficult for seniors to find a primary care doctor.
  • He recommends keeping your current primary care physician, or finding a new one as soon as possible if your doctor is nearing retirement.
  • Even though there are several new medical schools opening across the country this fall, Pullen believes that with the limited number of residency positions available, along with the lack of financial incentive for young doctors to go into primary care, new doctors will only marginally help the shortage situation.

Of course, primary care doesn’t rely solely on physicians–the services provided by nurses, nurse assistants and professional care aides cannot be understated. Still, Pullen has plenty of notable points.

No one wants to be put in the position of scrambling to find a new doctor when Mom’s care needs are more pertinent then ever. If you have any questions about your aging loved one’s primary care doctor or ongoing care needs, a senior care agency in your area is always there to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living — currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa — provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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