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15+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2002
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About a decade ago, I was reading a story in an edition of Medical Economics about there being an oversupply of physicians. Now, I have recently heard that there are not enough physicians and that there also needs to be more specialists. A decade ago the focus was on primary care. The doctor and specialist glut was supposed predicted to last until the end of THIS decade (ending 2010). Can anybody give some real, hard-core statistics from a credible source as to what the current situation is with reguard to the supply of physicians?


Gradient Echo

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Jul 12, 2002
Baltimore, MD
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Well my take on it is that the statistics dont really say one way or the other whether there is a national oversupply/undersupply of doctors.

The only thing we know for sure is that rural areas continue to be plagued by lack of doctors.

I question how reliable the statistics are if they on one hand show a severe shortfall and then on the other hand a few years later show a glut. I think the reality is somewhere in the middle. If there really was a noticeable glut or shortage, I think more of the statistical studies would agree with each other.


Fix me some sandwiches
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Jun 9, 2002
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its not necessarily a shortfall or oversupply, but a maldistribution of the physician workforce (too many specialists, not enough PCPs, too many docs in affluent suburbia, not enough in rural/inner city indigent populations). There is a chapter in Shi and Singh's book "Delivering Health Care in America:A Systems Approach" printed in 99 that gives data to substantiate those claims.
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