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Looming Doctor Shortage Demands Innovative Solutions

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Occupational licensure reform helps address the doctor shortage. Jeffrey Singer writes:

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a severe physician shortage by the year 2032, particularly in the primary care fields, as the population of patients as well as doctors continues to age, according to a report today by CNBC.com. AAMC projects the national primary care shortage will range from roughly 47,000 to 122,000.

The news report focused on Arizona, one of the fastest growing states in the union, which has a shortage of primary caregivers in every county. Arizona ranks 44th out of the 50 states in total active primary care providers (PCPs), at 77.9 per 100,000 population (the national average is 91.7 per 100,000) according to a recent report from the University of Arizona.

To deal with the problem efforts are underway in the state to expand residency training programs in order to produce more physicians. But that takes time and money. What is likely to have a more immediate beneficial effect is the state’s recent reform of its occupational licensing laws. Arizona this year became the first state to recognize occupational licenses in good standing granted by other states. This spares new migrants to the state who hold licenses in other states the hardship of repeating costly and time-consuming licensing procedures.

[Jeffrey A. Singer, “Looming Doctor Shortage Demands Innovative Solutions,” Cato Institute, September 6]

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