Posts Tagged ‘geriatric specialists’

Healthcare Bill Offers Some Financial Assistance to Educate Doctors, Nurses

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The healthcare reform bill provides some funding to educate new doctors and nurses, although the nation still faces severe staffing shortages.  “The act increases incentives for primary care and it adds maybe 300 more physicians trained per year in residency slots, which is a drop in the bucket,” said Valerie Parisi, M.D., interim dean at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

Approximately 16,000 new physicians graduate annually from the nation’s 130 medical schools, and subsequently enter graduate residency training at one of the 1,200 teaching hospitals.  Just 10 years from now, the nation will face a shortage of 66,000 primary-care physicians, including 7,000 in underserved urban and rural areas, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  An additional 100,000 specialty physicians will be needed, such as geriatric specialists and pulmonologists as millions of baby boomers retire and require treatment for chronic health conditions.  At present, the nation has approximately 756,000 active physicians.  Given an estimated United States population of 309,000,000, that adds up to just one physician for every 408 persons.  The nursing profession is experiencing similar shortages.  By 2020, the nursing shortage could be between 300,000 and 1,000,000, according to the journal Health Affairs.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act boosts loan repayment funding for medical and nursing students and re-authorizes nursing workforce development program, which provide federal dollars for nursing education.  To help undergraduates, the bill increases the loan amount available for nursing education from $13,000 to $17,000 at an interest rate of just five percent.  Currently, loan forgiveness tops out at $35,000 for undergraduates – providing they work in underserved areas.  The bill provides $105,000 – or $35,000 a year – for pediatricians, child mental health workers and public health professionals working in areas with limited medical resources.