Texas Medical Center challenges physician shortage projections 

Houston-based Texas Medical Center says the physician shortage may be less severe than anticipated, according to a survey of consumers and physicians from its Health Policy Institute. 

Previous projections from the American Association of Medical Colleges estimate a shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032. According to TMC's survey, 90 percent of primary care physicians and 78 percent of specialists surveyed said they believe a shortage is looming. Most physicians (about 75 percent) are prepared to share the patient load with nurse practitioners or even postpone retirement plans if more administrative duties could be taken off their plates. 

TMC notes, however, that patients are not yet feeling the shortage. The survey shows fewer than 1 in 5 consumers had difficulty scheduling new patient visits with a primary care physician and fewer than 1 in 6 had difficulty scheduling an appointment with a specialist. 

"The best way to tell if we have a doctor shortage is by asking patients whether they can easily get an appointment," Arthur "Tim" Garson Jr., MD, director of TMC's Health Policy Institute, said in a press release. "For now, they overwhelmingly say 'yes.'"


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