Letter: ‘Physician shortage': A myth that benefits medical societies

September 24, 2014

A reader doubts the existence of a physician shortage.

This might seem like an odd question, but a lot of my colleagues and myself have been wondering: is there really a looming physician shortage, or is this shortage more of a financial interest from certain organizations?

I have read reports on physician supply and none of them speak of the catastrophic shortage that a lot of organizations tend to push on the media. I see medical schools opening and the process of matriculating in those schools getting easier, as well as some popularizing ideas such as three-year medical schools programs so that “we can get primary care physicians working faster.”

Is the real issue improving patient care? Or is it filling the pockets of physician organizations that benefit from having more doctors around? Or having more competition so that hospitals and large medical groups can reduce primary care physicians’ already ridiculous salaries and benefits, while increasing their own revenue?

It seems to me that all these things point toward benefiting a lot of rich people instead of our patients. Which worries me a lot. Not to mention that it also worries me being unemployed a couple of years from now.

 

Carlos Hernandez, MD

Las Cruces, New Mexico