Talent Tuesday: AMA President Sounds Alarm on National Physician Shortage

In a national address recently, American Medical Association (@AmerMedicalAssn) President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., MPH, spotlighted the growing national physician shortage and corresponding health system in crisis. In remarks delivered at the National Press Club, Dr. Ehrenfeld outlined critical strains on physicians, including enormous administrative burdens, burnout, attacks on science, increased consolidation across health care, a broken Medicare payment system, and health crises that worsen each day.

Dr. Ehrenfeld enumerated five steps to get us out of this crisis, including specific legislation and solutions from the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians:

  • Pass meaningful Medicare payment reform
  • Reduce administrative burdens like the overused, inefficient prior authorization process
  • Pass bipartisan legislation to expand residency training options, provide greater student loan support, and create smoother pathways for foreign-trained physicians
  • End the criminalization of health care
  • Ensure physicians are not punished for taking care of their mental health needs

“The physician shortage that we have long feared—and warned was on the horizon—is already here. It’s an urgent crisis … hitting every corner of this country—urban and rural—with the most direct impacting hitting families with high needs and limited means,” Dr. Ehrenfeld said in remarks as prepared for delivery.

“Imagine walking into an emergency room in your moment of crisis—in desperate need of a physician’s care—and finding no one there to take care of you.

“That’s what we’re up against.

“And so while our current physician shortage is already limiting access to care for millions of people, it’s about to get much worse.”

Read the complete speech here.