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Thread: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

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    Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Since the passage of the health-care law in March, much has been said about the coming swarm of millions of retiring baby boomers, and the strain they will put on the nation's health-care system. That's only half the problem. Overlooked in the conversation is a particular group of boomers: doctors and nurses who are itching to call it quits. Health-care economists and other experts say retirements in that group over the next 10 to 15 years will greatly weaken the health-care workforce and leave many Americans who are newly insured under the new legislation without much hope of finding a doctor or nurse.

    Nearly 40 percent of doctors are 55 or older, according to the Center for Workforce Studies of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Included in that group are doctors whose specialties will be the pillars of providing care in 2014, when the overhaul kicks in; family medicine and general practitioners (37 percent); general surgeons (42 percent); pediatrics (33 percent), and internal medicine and pediatrics (35 percent). About a third of the much larger nursing workforce is 50 or older, and about 55 percent expressed an intention to retire in the next 10 years, according to a Nursing Management Aging Workforce Survey by the Bernard Hodes Group. New registered nurses are flowing from colleges, but not enough to replace the number planning to leave the profession.

    "Moving into the future, we see a very large shortage of nurses, about 300,000," said Peter Buerhaus, a nurse and health-care economist and a professor at Vanderbilt University. "That number does not account for the demand created by reform. That's a knockout number. It knocks the system down. It stops it."

    ...

    In a article for the Journal of the American Medical Association, Buerhaus and colleagues Douglas Staiger and David Auerbach predicted that there will be at least 100,000 fewer doctors in the workplace than the 1.1 million the federal government projects will be needed in 2020 under the health-care overhaul.



    This is hardly a partisan thing, so let's avoid using this thread to bicker about the health care bill. Something needs to be done about the ridiculous system in which the AMA is allowed to set quotas for the number of doctors that graduate each year. There is absolutely no way we can hope to keep costs under control when there is a shortage of doctors.
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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul
    Well, only briefly, one would think.
    In another ten or fifteen years, all the Boomers will be dead, and then there will be significantly fewer people in the US; specifically, fewer elderly people.

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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by 1069 View Post
    Well, only briefly, one would think.
    In another ten or fifteen years, all the Boomers will be dead, and then there will be significantly fewer people in the US; specifically, fewer elderly people.
    It actually won't work that way.

    http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/85.pdf

    p. 16, Figure 7.

    The nation’s elderly population will more than double in size from 2005 through 2050, as the baby boom generation enters the traditional retirement years. The number of working-age Americans and children will grow more slowly than the elderly population, and will shrink as a share of the total population.
    The percentage of elderly people will steadily increase over the next 20 years from 12% to 19%. From there it will remain flat at 19% until 2050.
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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    This represents a problem with health care(among other things), whether the health care system was overhauled or not.
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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    It actually won't work that way.

    http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/85.pdf

    p. 16, Figure 7.



    The percentage of elderly people will steadily increase over the next 20 years from 12% to 19%. From there it will remain flat at 19% until 2050.
    Well... cool. In 2050, I'll be 75 years old.
    At least I'll have plenty of company.
    We'll be sitting around the senior center arguing the relative merits of Nirvana versus Pearl Jam.

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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    While problematic, I see this an opportunity to end the domination of doctors in medical care. Its time we assembly lined the medical process. Too much work is being done by overqualified generalists that should be done by low-skill specialists. Operating a particular machine or performing one specific kind of test should require a short training course to get certification, not years in medical school. Doctors still have the their place in the system, but only when their particular talents are needed for a job that can't easily be done by someone else.

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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Another solution is to expand the education system. There has been an exponential decline in medical schools in the U.S. over the past century. The trend has been the same in Canada and Great Britain. Limiting med school seating is how the industry maintains competitive salaries, but it is placing an artificial ceiling on the supply of doctors and medical staff.

    The government should mandate that med schools open more seats, and provide the financial incentive to do so. It should also expand coverage to the alternative health care sector which is already providing huge benefits to a lot of people.

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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    This represents a problem with health care(among other things), whether the health care system was overhauled or not.
    Absolutely true, I probably should have included that in the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    While problematic, I see this an opportunity to end the domination of doctors in medical care. Its time we assembly lined the medical process. Too much work is being done by overqualified generalists that should be done by low-skill specialists. Operating a particular machine or performing one specific kind of test should require a short training course to get certification, not years in medical school. Doctors still have the their place in the system, but only when their particular talents are needed for a job that can't easily be done by someone else.
    I'm 100% in support of this approach, but I have a hard time envisioning the people in this country accepting this. The only thing anyone will hear is "the government is trying to take away my doctor and replace him with a nurse tech!"

    It's the same reason why we can't tell people that they aren't entitled to all the care they want without regard for expense.
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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    I'm 100% in support of this approach, but I have a hard time envisioning the people in this country accepting this. The only thing anyone will hear is "the government is trying to take away my doctor and replace him with a nurse tech!"
    That is correct, although I suspect people would warm the system once they understood its benefits. Kaiser has implemented some aspects of such a system for getting medical tests or vaccines, and most people appreciate how much less time they waste getting it done. Ideally, the government would simply loosen requirements and dodge the flak by letting hospitals make the choice themselves. The financial motives would likely be enough incentive to make it happen.

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    Re: Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Retirements by baby-boomer doctors, nurses could strain overhaul

    This is hardly a partisan thing, so let's avoid using this thread to bicker about the health care bill. Something needs to be done about the ridiculous system in which the AMA is allowed to set quotas for the number of doctors that graduate each year. There is absolutely no way we can hope to keep costs under control when there is a shortage of doctors.
    Congress has complete control over this issue.

    They allocate funds for residency(?) programs for budding doctors.
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