Addressing the Physician Shortage Through Medical Schools

June 16, 2014
Laura Joszt

A new policy from the American Medical Association addresses the physician shortage and healthcare access in the United States through innovative education models.

In order to address the physician shortage in the United States and increase healthcare access in underserved areas, the American Medical Association (AMA), voted to support innovative education models.

The new policy from the AMA encourages graduate medical education funding from the federal and state government and private payers. The organization is also looking to increase the number of available residency slots.

"As more patients continue to receive health care coverage, it is essential that the next generation of physicians is sufficiently trained," AMA Board Member Stephen Permut, MD, said in a statement. “Increasing funding for graduate medical education will help us accomplish that."

Furthermore, the AMA policy promotes the growth of team-based care models and training methods that foster and reward physicians who are part of patient-centered care teams.

The policy was released just before a report from U.S. News found that medical school selectivity may worsen the doctor shortage. Although, the acceptance rate for medical schools was 44.5% “some of the most selective schools, though, do not even come close to double-digits in terms of its admission rates,” wrote Olivia Vanni.

Exacerbating the situation is the fact that there is not enough residency positions open for graduating medical students.

“Increasing enrollments show that medical schools are doing their part to avert the shortage of more than 90,000 primary care and specialty doctors this nation faces by 2020,” Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, said in a statement last year. “However, this will not result in a single new practicing physician unless Congress acts now to lift the cap on residency training positions.”