New report estimates severe shortage of geriatricians

Lisa Wurth

May 2, 2011

A new report published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society has found that there is a severe shortage of physicians who are trained in the field of gertiatrics. While 80 percent of children visit pediatricians, research shows that 80 percent of older patients see a general physician, according to USA Today.

From 2004 to 2008, only 320 medical professionals entered into a geriatric medical fellowship. To meet the growing needs of the aging baby boomer population, experts predict that there will have to be 36,000 geriatricians by 2030.

Much of the problem appears to be a lack of incentive, because so many older patients use Medicare to pay doctors. The report proposes that geriatrics be handled by a trained team, so that members are able to visit seniors at home.

Older adults who are looking to stay healthy during the golden years may also want to consider investing in a medical alert system. This device allows users to immediately send a personal emergency response message if they need help.

Other reports have suggested that there will be a shortage of general physicians as well – The Bradenton Herald reports that there could be a need for 130,000 doctors within the next 20 years. 

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