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Capitol Health Call
September 13, 2016

Congress to Address Shortage of General Surgeons

JAMA. 2016;316(10):1035. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12138

Identical bills aimed at identifying US communities with the greatest need for more general surgeons have been introduced in both houses of Congress as the country’s general surgeon population continues to decrease (http://bit.ly/2aHM0bK; http://bit.ly/2azlIEm).

Rural and other medically underserved areas have been most affected by an overall physician shortfall caused by population growth, the chronic care needs of an aging populace, and a heightened patient load due to the Affordable Care Act (http://bit.ly/1OUvrli). However, the need for surgeons is especially acute. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of general surgeons, which was 39 100 in 2000, is projected to decrease to 30 800 by 2020.

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