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I am a primary care physician family physician working for Kaiser Permanente. I can attest to the shortage of medical student physicians interested in family primary care. We are in active recruiting mode for a smaller and smaller pool of qualified applicant. Large studies show that we are falling short in the US of replacing primary care physicians (family physicians, pediatricians and general internists) by between 3500 and 7000 physicians per year. It is predicted that the US could be as many as 200,000 physicians (primary + specialty)short of the actual need by 2020. We have, over the last 20-30 years, filled some of this deficit by taking the best and brightest physicians from other countries (many with even worse physician shortages) while many highly qualified and interested prospective medical students can't get a slot in an American medical school. We are in the process of hiring a local Oregonian who had to go to Grenada to get into a medical school. Training physicians is not cheap. America is ultimately going to have to invest in more medical schools and in enlarging the size of current medical schools in order to adequately meet the looming physician shortage. Physician salaries are ultimately a matter of supply and demand. In the long run it may be less expensive to train more physicians (with emphasis on primary care) and let the market deal with the income issues.
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
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