Report: N.J. Will Be Short Nearly 3,000 Doctors In Next Decade Without Changes

doctor-reviewing-chart-of-alcohol-abuse-patientNew Jersey will be short nearly 3,000 doctors by 2020 if the state does not take preventive measures, a task force said today. The statewide Physician Workforce Policy Task Force, which the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals trade group began in 2007, undertook what the group described as an “intensive study” three years ago and found New Jersey faces shortages in both primary care and specialty areas. The shortfall is projected to be more than 2,800 doctors — beyond a current 12 percent gap in the current physician supply and demand. The doctor deficit consists of approximately 1,000 primary care physicians and 1,800 specialists.

“A physician shortage crisis is right around the corner in New Jersey if we do not take immediate steps to change course,” J. Richard Goldstein, president and CEO of the hospitals council, said in a news release. “National health reform, while laudable and needed, will only work to accelerate the time when there simply will not be enough doctors to serve New Jersey’s adults and children.”

The task force recommends:

• Creating a Center for Medical and Health Workforce Planning to continue monitoring and forecasting, as well as refining recommendations. The center would collect and analyze data and prepare reports on health work force supply and demand trends; guide the allocation of resources; track physician and advanced practice provider shortages to determine funding priorities; manage “vacant” resident positions; and direct funds to the individual programs with greatest impact on work force retention and recruitment.• Aligning strategic planning, annual goals and incentives between the medical schools, teaching hospitals and the state.

• Expanding retention and recruitment initiatives to encourage physicians to enter, remain in, or return to practice in New Jersey by creating a fellowship-training fund and physician recruitment fund targeting physicians leaving the state for additional medical training; expanding the current loan redemption program to target specialties with the most significant shortages; establishing a three-year state tax forgiveness program, practice subsidy fund, and a loan assistance program for new physicians; expanding pipeline programs (K-12) that motivate and prepare New Jersey’s children for medical careers.

• Identifying, targeting and enrolling students in medical schools who will more likely practice in New Jersey.

• Establishing “incentive grants” for medical schools and teaching hospitals that reward retention of graduates post graduation.

• Enhancing state funding for medical education and postgraduate physician residency programs.

• Pursuing federal reforms to address systemic problems in GME funding mechanisms, administrative processes, and regulatory oversight.


Dr. Goldstein added, “We understand the extraordinary fiscal stress New Jersey is currently facing and that not all of our recommendations, particularly those with a price tag, can be implemented immediately,” Goldstein said. “But we also do not want to leave Federal funds on the table that are rightfully ours and would encourage the Governor and Legislators to make these relatively small investments a budgetary priority.”

The hospitals council retained the Center for Health Workforce Studies of the University at Albany, which secured the forecast modeling expertise of the Lewin Group and Altarum Institute, to perform an extensive review and modeling using a number of data sources. Among those sources are the American Medical Association’s “Masterfile of Physicians,” the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners’ database, the AMA resident database, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development data and the hospitals council’s New Jersey resident exit survey results. Star Ledger.

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