A new report said Wisconsin may have a potential shortfall of as many as 4,000 physicians by the year 2035.
That’s the conclusion of a study by the Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce, or WCMEW.
The 2016 report expects physician demand to increase by 25 percent in 20 years, which is much faster than Wisconsin’s projected population increase of 12 percent.
The report says an aging population is driving the problem. The report expects the over-65 population will increase by 69 percent by 2035, and elderly patients, on average, use doctors nearly three times as much as younger patients.
Meanwhile, the supply of physicians is projected to increase by only 8 percent. And that increase will only happen if Wisconsin continues to attract, train and retain physicians at the current rate, and if physicians see the same number of patients as they do currently.
The group said the state has made progress to address the upcoming physician shortfall, but much more needs to happen to prevent a future crisis.
“Wisconsin has made good progress toward building its future physician workforce,” said WCMEW Executive Director George Quinn. “But that work needs to be redoubled if we are to meet our future workforce challenges.”
The 2016 report from WCMEW, titled “A Work In Progress: Building Wisconsin’s Future Physician Workforce,” recommends the state expand graduate medical education in Wisconsin, increase emphasis on recruitment and retention, and continue to encourage change in the way care is administered in the state.