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How Would You Cure the Physician Shortage?

How Would You Cure the Physician Shortage?

Individuals began enrolling in health insurance exchanges just a few weeks ago. While coverage will not kick in until 2014, the enrollment kickoff is a reminder that many physicians will encounter higher patient demand in the year ahead. As many as 30 million Americans could gain insurance due to the Affordable Care Act, according to some estimates.

At the same time, the country is wrestling with an increasing physician shortage (particularly in primary-care and in rural areas).  According to one estimate, 52,000 additional primary-care physicians will be needed by 2025.

Several solutions to the physician shortage have been proposed (and many of them are being explored). Among them: expanding the scope of practice of nonphysician providers; easing restrictions for international medical graduates; making medical education more affordable; opening up  more medical school and medical residency slots; and embracing new models of care such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes.

What do you believe is the best way to address the physician shortage? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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