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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Doctor shortage looming? Foreign physicians may be the answer

October 06, 2010

Got doctors? By 2015, the United States will be short about 63,000 physicians and about 33,100 cardiologists, oncologists and emergency-medicine specialists, according to the Assn. of American Medical Colleges.

The association originally predicted a shortfall of 39,600 doctors but revised that figure up on Sept. 30 after considering a projected 36% spike in Americans 65 and older and the expected retirement of a third of physicians nationwide in the next decade.

Though U.S. medical schools churn out 7,000 graduates a year, the rate may not be able to keep up with demand. Foreign doctors (which includes non-U.S. citizens and Americans schooled abroad) account for 25% of doctors nationwide, and a study released in August found they provide the same quality of care as their American-trained counterparts.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports on the rise of businesses that prepare foreign physicians for work in the U.S.: "South Florida center trains doctors from around the world."

-- Mary Forgione / Los Angeles Times

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