Residency cap may hamper efforts to expand number of doctors

Bloomberg examines the need for more primary care physicians and the limit on the number of slots for training doctors.

Bloomberg: Doctor Shortage May Swell To 130,000 With U.S. Cap
With a shortage of doctors in the U.S. already and millions of new patients set to gain coverage under President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, American medical schools are struggling to close the gap. One major reason: The residency programs to train new doctors are largely paid for by the federal government, and the number of students accepted into such programs has been capped at the same level for 15 years. Medical schools are holding back on further expansion because the number of applicants for residencies already exceeds the available positions, according to the National Resident Matching Program, a 60-year-old Washington-based nonprofit that oversees the program (Wayne, 8/29).

Meanwhile, in a new study --

Medpage Today: 'Calling' Helps Docs Treat Tough Conditions
Primary care physicians who felt "called" to practice medicine were more likely to be satisfied helping patients with difficult-to-treat conditions such as as nicotine and alcohol addiction as well as obesity, researchers found. A survey of primary care physicians found that those who were happy with their medical careers were more likely to report "some or a lot" of satisfaction treating nicotine dependence (62 percent), obesity (57 percent), and alcoholism (50 percent), according to Kenneth Rasinski, PhD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues (Petrochko, 8/28).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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