Studies Predict Shortage of Medical Specialists
Several recent studies are predicting that the number of medical specialists will be insufficient to treat an aging baby boomer population over the next 30 years, predicting a "looming health care crisis," the Columbia State reports. According to the studies, cardiologists, pulmonologists, intensive care physicians and anesthesiologists will be among several specialists in high demand. A study in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association states that the number of intensive care and lung specialists will decline "slightly" over the next three decades, but that demand for such doctors will rise 66% and 50%, respectively. Furthermore, a 1999 study by the American College of Cardiology predicted that the demand for heart specialists will increase 66% by 2030 and 93% by 2050, while the number of cardiologists is expected to increase by only 1% per year. These findings contrast with a 1994 report by the Council on Graduate Medical Education, a federal oversight department that monitors the health care work force, that stated there were too many specialists in the country.
A 'Major Miscalculation'
Experts point to three main factors behind the "switch from too many to too few specialists." For one, "[p]lanners" expected managed car