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Medical society seeks solutions to physician shortage

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 27, 2013

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The Minnesota Medical Assn. has convened a task force to address the shortage of primary care physicians in the state.

Shortages are a problem nationwide: A recent Senate hearing revealed that the nation needs 16,000 more primary care doctors and possibly as many as 50,000 additional physicians by 2025.

The MMA task force, which consists of 11 physicians, a resident and a medical student, will develop strategies for increasing the work force in the state. The group, which will examine what drives supply of primary care physicians, wants to partner with other stakeholders to advance the issue of work force capacity. The task force also plans to hold a summit in the third quarter of 2013 to address such strategies.

More insured people will enter the health care system due to Affordable Care Act coverage provisions taking effect in January 2014. In addition, Minnesota’s 65-and-older population is expected to rise from 12% in 2000 to 24% by 2030. These factors, along with the aging of the primary care physician work force, underscores how the number of physicians is decreasing while demand continues to grow, the association said.

“This is a very serious issue,” Dan Maddox, MD, president of the Minnesota Medical Assn., said in a statement. “Figuring out how to address the shortage is a critical priority for the MMA.”

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