Health Policy

TMC Health Policy Institute Examines Health Care Provider Shortage

TMC Health Policy Institute Examines Health Care Provider Shortage

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The Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute hosted this week a two-day national meeting focused on innovations in health care workforce. Co-sponsored by the George Washington University Health Care Workforce Institute, the event featured various speakers from across the United States and Canada to discuss the shortage of physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and other health care workers.

In response to this systemic problem, health care teams presented their ideas at the TMC Innovation Institute to showcase how expanding the roles of health care workers could help alleviate the nationwide shortage. The event also provided speakers and attendees the opportunity to interact with fellow innovators and key experts from various agencies, including state government, insurance and health plan organizations, and the National Governors Association.

“We had an amazing group of people here from all over,” said Arthur Garson, M.D., director of the TMC HPI. “The innovations presented here are ways to address the shortages not by making more doctors and nurses, but to use other workers to do work that doctors and nurses do not need to do and leverage their time to do what only the professionals can do.”

A 2015 study by the Association of American Medical Colleges showed an estimated shortage of 12,500 to 31,100 primary care physicians and 28,200 to 63,700 non-primary care physicians—including medical, surgical and other specialists—by 2025. Without addressing the health care workforce shortage woes, these problems are likely to cascade into other areas of health care delivery. The AAMC said this trend is expected to increase reliance on advance nurse practitioners for primary care, use of urgent care clinics and emergency departments, readmissions and overcrowding in hospitals, unless new strategies to improve these conditions—such as those discussed at this week’s meeting—are implemented.

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