With the impending shortage of qualified physicians, some medical specialties are at particular risk – which means they offer significant opportunity for students graduating medical school over the next decade. Among those deeply impacted specialties is geriatrics, the social and medical specialty that deals with the health and care of the elderly.
Recently released data from the National Resident Matching Program, known informally as “the Match”, shows that of the 139 geriatric fellowship programs for the 2018 appointment year, just 35 were filled. Further, of the 387 fellowships offered, only 176 were filled. These figures are troubling, considering the ever-increasing demand for quality medical care for America’s aging and retiring Baby Boomers.
Statistics show that there currently are 44 million Medicare beneficiaries and enrollment is expected to rise to 79 million by 2030. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) expects about 30 percent of those individuals will require care from a geriatrician. Today, there are roughly 7,300 certified geriatricians practicing nationwide and the AGS expects demand will grow to 30,000 geriatricians by 2030.
Adding to the demand the trend of patients seeking out geriatricians rather than general physicians at an increasing rate. This is particularly true of patients who struggle with complicated issues like memory loss or frequent falls that a primary care doctor isn’t trained to address.
To help boost interest in geriatrics, medical school curricula now frequently includes training in the specialty so that future doctors are exposed to the idea early in their careers. Medical students who aren’t matched elsewhere often are heavily recruited into the specialty. And some states have implemented debt relief programs for new doctors who agree to treat older patients in communities with the greatest need.
No matter which specialty you choose, St. Augustine, FL-based WOLFPACC can assure you success in your medical studies and ultimate practice. Call 904-209-3140 or visit our website to learn more about our USMLE and COMLEX review courses, designed to help you ace your exams on the first try.