PCP Shortage Worsens as New Patient Estimates Climb
The population of primary care physicians (PCPs) needs to grow by 52,000 to adequately manage the projected 22% increase in office visits by 2025, according to a new study published in the Annals of Family Mediane.
The increased need will be driven primarily by population growth, aging, and the expansion of the number of insured Americans following full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The new estimates are higher than the Association of American Medical Colleges' 2008 prediction that 46,000 full-time equivalent PCPs would be needed to satisfy growing demand for primary care services by 2025.
In 2008, Americans made 462 million office visits to PCPs. That number is almost half of the total physician visits for that year, according to the study, and it represents roughly 1.6 PCP visits per person each year.
Data from the American Medical Association's Master File show that almost 250,000 PCPs were in direct patient care in 2010. Adjusted to consider PCPs working in emergency departments and urgent care centers, the study authors estimate that about 209,000 PCPs provided office-based care that year. Assuming the number of PCPs had increased since 2008, the study estimated that about 206,000 officebased PCPs were practicing in 2008. …