Med schools training at top speed, but Minnesota doctor shortage looms

Author:
Updated:
Original:

A new estimate of how an impending doctor shortage will hit Minnesota says the state is on track to have 2,000 fewer physicians than it needs over the next 10 years.

The group Minnesota Needs Doctors, which was put together by the state's teaching hospitals, says about one-third of Minnesota's doctors are likely to retire over those 10 years. Meanwhile, an aging population and fresh access to health insurance are driving up the demand for medical care.

Those dynamics are in place all over the country. Minnesota Needs Doctors says the nationwide shortage is estimated at 90,000.

The vice-dean for medical education at the U of M says the med school is doing what it can to address the crunch – but is hampered by the limited number of openings for medical residencies, the Minnesota Daily reports.

Mark Rosenberg tells the Daily the medical schools in both Duluth and the Twin Cities are at their enrollment capacities. He says expanding enrollment is unlikely, since openings for residencies are stagnant.

Med school graduates can't be licensed to practice medicine until they've completed a residency. According to a Minnesota Hospital Association report this summer, the number of slots for residency programs in the state has been frozen since 1996.

In that July report, the hospitals put Minnesota's doctor shortage at about 850 – less than half what Minnesota Needs Doctors now estimates. Both groups say it will take an increase in funding for Graduate Medical Education to increase residencies.

A doctor shortage is already a fact of life for many rural Minnesotans.

The director of the state Health Department's Office of Rural Health and Primary Care told MinnPost in August that in remote areas daily access to physicians or nurse practitioners doesn't exist.

The U of M has a Rural Physician Associate Program that was created to foster interest among medical students in providing primary care outside of urban areas.

Minnesota is participating in National Rural Health Day on Nov. 20 to highlight the health care challenges facing rural areas.

Next Up

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba beats the clock to give Wild sixth straight win

Dumba scored as overtime came to a close for another Wild victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Bradley Beal terrorizes Timberwolves in loss to Wizards

Beal and the Wizards handed the Wolves their seventh straight defeat.

Marcus Carr / Gopher basketball

Gophers tourney hopes take another blow with loss to Nebraska

Marcus Carr scored a career-high 41 points, but Minnesota is still winless on the road.

St. Paul police

St. Paul police arrest teenage boy in carjacking crackdown

This comes amid a dramatic spike in Twin Cities carjackings.

snow

Snow latest: Twin Cities set for up to 4 inches

A narrow system will travel across Minnesota overnight.

Blake Fredrick / Lake City Basketball

Lake City boys basketball player signs contract, honored on senior night

Frederick had a special call-up to the Tigers' varsity basketball team.

ambulance

Man dies after being shot outside home near Grove City

He was found outside a home in Acton Township.

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 9.39.00 AM

Teen wounded in 'accidental shooting' in Moorhead

The 18-year-old was shot in the abdomen.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Another absurd night for Kaprizov as his legend grows

Kaprizov scored a crazy wrap-around goal in the Wild's victory over the Kings.

Related