The one in five young doctors who still planned on a career in general medicine at the completion of their training may help to provide the answer to the current primary care shortage, a new study found.
Make sure enough physicians and other health care professionals are working in all parts of Texas Imagine life without access to a physician, for yourself, your aging parent, or your child. Without access to a physician, life-enhancing and lifesaving medical care is virtually impossible. Physicians are the nucleus of the formula needed to achieve the vision of the Texas Medical Association: To improve the health of all Texans. Access to health care depends on the availability of physicians with the skills to match the needs of the state’s population.
Texas has a shortage of both primary care physicians and other specialists. Texas ranks behind all the other most-populous states in the number of patient care physicians per capita. To evaluate this shortage across specialties, we have devised a metric that compares the number of Texas physicians per 100,000 population with the U.S. average. We call this the “Texas Specialty Ratio.” The closer this ratio is to 100 percent for a given specialty, the closer Texas is to the national average.Texas has fewer physicians per capita than the national average for 36 out of 40 medical specialty groups.Texas needs both more primary care physicians and other specialists. A number of specialties have acute shortages.Psychiatry and child/adolescent psychiatry are among the specialties with the lowest Texas Specialty Ratios.
We also must look to the Texas of tomorrow to evaluate the kinds of physicians we will need the most. Texas ranks fourth among the six most-populous states in medical students and resident physicians per capita. Texas continues to be overly dependent on other states and countries for supplying new physicians. Last year, nearly 75 percent of newly licensed physicians graduated from medical schools outside of Texas. We are thus subject to the vagaries of external forces that influence the numbers of physicians we can recruit. To meet future physician demands, Texas needs a stable, high-quality medical education system to produce homegrown physicians. Similarly, we must provide a reasonable opportunity for Texas medical school graduates to obtain their residency training in the state without being forced to leave home. Multiple studies confirm that physicians who complete both medical school and residency training in the state are three times more likely to practice here.