Healthcare workforce lost 145,213 providers from 2021 through 2022

An estimated 145,213 healthcare providers left the workforce from 2021 through 2022, according to an Oct. 16 report from Definitive Healthcare. 

Definitive Healthcare examined medical claims data, based on the numbers of providers billing each year, in July and August 2022, and data was updated in July 2023 to determine the latest annual estimate of departures. The latest estimate takes into account those who had left the industry in 2021 and have now returned and are practicing again. The data within the report reflects professionals that left the workforce from the beginning of 2021 through the end of 2022. Here are three additional key takeaways from the report, which is available here

1. Definitive Healthcare found 71,309 physicians left the workforce from 2021 through 2022, according to its analysis of medical claims. It also estimates 34,834 nurse practitioners, 13,714 physician assistants, 15,332 physical therapists and 10,024 licensed clinical social workers left the workforce from 2021 through 2022.

2. The physician specialties affected most by the departures are internal medicine (-8,718 providers), family practice (-7,842), clinical psychology (-5,985), psychiatry (-5,059), pediatric medicine (-4,142), optometry (-3,506), emergency medicine (-3,207), anesthesiology (-2,872), obstetrics/gynecology (-2,536) and general surgery (-2,134). Combined, those 10 physician specialties saw about 46,000 physicians leave the workforce from 2021 through 2022, according to Definitive Healthcare's analysis. 

3. Definitive Healthcare examined its data to determine which specialties are at risk of a wave of retirement within the next decade. The average provider age in specialties potentially facing a wave of retirement: adult medicine (59 years old), general practice (59), psychology (58), adolescent medicine (58), addiction medicine (57), occupational medicine (57), preventive medicine (57), urology (56), otolaryngology (56) and cardiology (55).

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