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Medical News and Perspectives
October 22 2008

Reports Warn of Primary Care Shortages

JAMA. 2008;300(16):1872-1875. doi:10.1001/jama.300.16.1872

The United States faces a shortage of primary care physicians that could exceed 40 000 by 2025, according to a recent analysis by researchers from the University of Missouri and the Health Resources and Services Administration (Colwill JM et al. Health Aff [Millwood]. 2008;27[3]:232-241).

The analysis adds to a growing body of evidence that US medical schools are producing too few physicians to meet the demand for medical services. Its findings were supported by a second recent report by the National Association of Community Health Centers, which also predicts a substantial shortfall of primary care physicians and other frontline clinicians (http://www.nachc.com/client/documents/ACCESS%20Transformed%20full%20report.PDF). The reports emphasize that such a shortage is likely to disproportionately affect certain vulnerable populations, including the elderly, individuals who rely on community health centers, and people in rural or poor urban communities who have traditionally been underserved.

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