Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) and Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Burlington, Camden, Atlantic) which would require the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to convene a planning summit to find ways to address an expected shortage of physicians practicing in the Garden State was advanced today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
“Studies show New Jersey in the coming years will face a significant gap in the demand for care versus the number of physicians practicing in family care and important specialties,” said Singer, who also sponsors legislation to incentivize doctors to work in New Jersey. “We have to take steps now to find ways to attract doctors in needed areas if we want to make certain all communities have access to a high level of care.”
The legislation, S-90, was introduced in response to a report issued by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals in 2010 which predicts a shortfall of nearly 3,000 doctors in the Garden State by 2020, including 1,000 primary care physicians and 1,800 specialists.
The Senators’ legislation seeks to address that shortage by requiring the Commissioner of Health and Senior services to convene a strategic planning summit comprised of relevant State agencies, boards and key stakeholders, including representatives of medical schools and teaching hospitals in the state.
The summit would be charged with analyzing the state’s physician workforce supply, discussing the redistribution or expansion of residency slots to address shortages in the state and investigating ways to include more community hospitals in resident rotations in family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric medicine.
“Too often medical students who study in New Jersey and train in our hospitals go on to leave the state to practice elsewhere,” said Addiego. “There needs to be a close look to identify the factors that are causing these doctors, especially ones in needed specialties, to leave New Jersey. With this understanding we can create and enact a plan to help us retain the doctors that our residents need.”
S-90 will now go to the full Senate for approval. An identical version of the bill passed the Senate in each of the last two legislative sessions but was never taken up by the Assembly.