In a move to improve the growing physician shortage, Texas Health Resources announced that it is increasing its graduate medical education commitments, growing the number of residents who serve in its hospitals.
The physician shortage is becoming more acute with the retirement of the Baby Boomers coinciding with that generation needing more healthcare services. While more pronounced in rural areas, Dallas-Fort Worth has fewer residency clots per capita than Chicago, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. The American Association of Medical Colleges says the country will have a shortage of 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by 2030.
In the next 12 years, there will be a 55 percent increase in the country’s population over the age of 65. Two-thirds of seniors have at least one chronic illness and 20 percent of them see up to 14 physicians regularly. Physicians too, are aging. More than 25 percent of practicing physicians are over 60, many of whom will retire in the next decade. An added pressure is the caps on the number of residency slots because of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, meaning some medical students are left without a residency in this country, despite the shortage.
Expanding residencies and access to medical education is a concept that has received increased attention, especially as healthcare becomes a key issue in the democratic primary. Dallas’ own Mark Cuban has even weighed in on the subject.
If we really want to improve care , how about before we make all public colleges free we increase the number of residency slots (S.348 is a start) and we make med school free for those willing to do GP and work HC deserts ? We have fewer than 1m practicing physicians. https://t.co/5N9EHxINwE
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) December 16, 2019
THR’s program will focus on primary care specialties like internal medicine, family medicine, OBGYN, general surgery, psychiatry, and emergency medicine. Over the next three years, the program will scale up to 350 residents working in THR hospitals in North Texas. There are currently over 40 residents working at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Further expansion will take place at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth in 2021, with other outpatient clinics and rural healthcare settings to follow.
“This is another step in Texas Health’s vision of partnering with our communities for a lifetime of health and well-being,” said Barclay E. Berdan, chief executive officer fo THR via release. “Since residents often continue their careers where they train, we expect this effort will help our communities for decades to come. These residents also will help expand the services we can provide to the community inside our hospital walls, in our clinics and other patient care settings.”