With only 2% Medical Students planning careers in General Internal Medicine, we are in for a huge medical crisis. The USA will have 200,000 fewer doctors overall than it needs by 2020, yet the number of older Americans is expected to nearly double.
The reasons are clear and medical students are walking away from Primary Care specialties in droves.
- High medical school debt (average >$150K)
- Lowest income of all specialties
- Highest hassles and horrible paper work of all specialties
- High cost of running an office (supplies, phones, billing, space needed, employees needed)
- Grueling crush of patients with no relief (no lunch, no break, no time for research or thinking about complex medical problems)
- High level of responsibility for "everything"
- Grueling call schedule
- Lack of respect from other physicians. Often dumped upon... "Call your primary"
- Requirements for best practice prevention and screening without systems to help manage it.
- Inability to combat low reimbursement and claims denials.
As Internists and Family Medicine doctors retire or wind down, there is no one to take their place.
Forget what you hear about Universal Care. If you can't find a doctor, it doesn't matter what your insurance is. With 2% of Medical Students choosing primary care, the Emergency Departments and high priced specialists will thrive and continuity of care will be a thing of the past.