More Family Medicine Residency Spots But Shortfall Remains

Projected shortfall in the primary care workforce persists; may worsen with funding cuts

FRIDAY, Feb. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Despite increases in recent years to the number of medical school graduates choosing family medicine, a shortfall in the primary care workforce persists, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

According to the AMA, based on results from the 2013 National Resident Matching Program, more family medicine residency positions were offered in 2013 than in years past. Additionally, the fill rate in 2013 was 96 percent, the fourth consecutive year of Match rate increases for family medicine.

However, the AMA says, despite these recent gains in the number of medical students and residents entering family medicine, there will still be a shortfall in the primary care workforce. To meet the needs of a growing number of patients with chronic diseases and an aging population, it is recommended by graduate medical education (GME) policy experts that the overall primary care workforce needs to reach 40 percent of the overall physician workforce. Proposed cuts to GME funding would also worsen the primary care workforce shortage, the AMA cautions.

"Medical schools are expanding enrollment in anticipation of a future physician shortage, but cuts to GME could have disastrous consequences, including access to care issues for patients in need and more medical school grads who do not match into residency," the AMA notes in a press release.

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