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Challenges/opportunities in the geriatrician shortage


This New York Times story discusses the lack of geriatricians in the U.S., even with the flood of aging Baby Boomers. To us at Cambridge Management, it also suggest huge potential for healthcare organizations to increase revenues and widen operating margins by recruiting and retaining geriatricians and other clinicians expert in dealing with elderly patients. But, as this story suggests, geriatricians’ pay needs to be increased and medical schools, hospitals and other healthcare organizations and private- and public-sector payers need to do more to promote this essential and badly understaffed specialty.

As The Times story says: “Geriatrics is one of the few medical specialties in the United States that is contracting even as the need increases, ranking at the bottom of the list of specialties that internal medicine residents choose to pursue.”

“One of the greatest stories of the 20th Century was that we doubled the life expectancy of adults,” Terry Fulmer, president of the John A. Hartford Foundation, which funds programs to improve the care of the elderly, told  The  Times. “Now we need to make sure we have all the supports in place to assure not just a long life but a high quality of that long life.”

There are about 7,000 U.S. geriatricians in practice today.  The American Geriatrics Society estimates that to meet the demand, medical schools would have to train at least 6,250 additional geriatricians between now and 2030, or about 450 more a year than the current rate.








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