A growing shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs) in the United States increases the number of emergency department visits and the number of patients who delay or altogether skip treatment for their health condition, according to a new government-sponsored report.
Titled Primary Care Access: 30 Million New Patients and 11 Months to Go: Who Will Provide Their Primary Care? the report was issued by Bernard Sanders, chair of a Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. According to highlights of the report, the average PCP in the US is 47 years old, and one-quarter of this population is nearing retirement. The shortage will only grow more pronounced as expansion of insurance benefits under the Affordable Care Act go into effect in 2014. The report notes that with 30 million newly insured individuals seeking care, at least 52,000 new providers will be needed by 2025.
The full report is available as PDF, here.