The Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) and Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Burlington, Camden, Atlantic) to convene a planning summit to find ways to address an expected shortage of physicians practicing in the Garden State.
“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. “If we truly want all communities to have access to a high level of care we must begin to address this issue now by finding ways to attract doctors in needed areas. Analyzing the problem and identifying possible solutions is an important first step.”
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.”
The Assembly has not yet taken on an identical version (A1930) of this legislation.