Report says 12 percent gap in physician supply versus demand within 10 years
Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Ocean) that establishes a physician loan redemption program for certain specialties was passed by the Senate Education Committee today. The bill is based on a recommendation in a report issued by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals that said loan forgiveness is one of the top factors that medical residents look for in determining a practice.
“We need to address the impending physician shortage to prevent the risk of people going without any, or with insufficient, care., ” Singer stated. “The nine million New Jersey residents deserve to know that well-trained doctors will be available to serve their health care needs when they need it most.”
The bill provides for redemption of qualifying loan expenses for physicians in specialties that are projected to experience a significant shortage in the State, if they work in the State for 10 years in designated underserved areas. The Advisory Graduate Medical Education Council, in consultation with the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals, would determine which specialties are projected to have a significant shortage. Underserved areas are those which have been ranked by the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services on the basis of health status and economic indicators.
“Perhaps more significantly, the demand for doctors is increasing because of the growing population of seniors, ” Singer concluded. “It takes about seven years to train a physician so we need to begin now because as the baby boom generation begins to retire we need to ensure that we have enough doctors to care and provide for everyone’s medical well-being.”