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Officials: Doctor shortage looming

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 13 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2012 08:26:07 PM CST

Doctor shortage looming?

Bring on the new doctors: stat!    

A new study says there will be a shortage of US physicians by 2025.

Part of the goal at Temple St. Luke's Medical School is to get students that have a connection to the area.

They say hopefully the students will have a bond to the  area and will keep working here when they graduate.

Many medical school administrators are looking for the next medical professional.

"There have been 18 national studies that have demonstrated that unless something is going to be done, there is going to be a national shortage of physicians," said Dr. Joel Rosenfeld of Temple St. Luke's Medical School.

Joel Rosenfeld, is the chief academic officer at Temple St. Luke's Medical School in Fountain Hill, Lehigh County.

Currently there are 30 students in the regional program.

"We're a major education center here for the production of physicians," said Dr. Rosenfeld.

The institution is even accepting undergrads before completing their senior year if there is an interest in medicine.

"If they have a good GPA, and they have good letters of recommendation, can apply. they can be interviewed and they are accepted. It's early assurance." said Dr. Rosenfeld.

The most need will be for primary care physicians.

The big reason for the shortage is the over 38 million Americans that will be added to the rolls because of President's Affordable Care Act.

And people are living a lot longer.

"Nobody considered the baby boomers coming along, nobody really considered the aging population, and nobody really considered the aging population of physicians. In Pennsylvania alone 29 percent of the physicians are 65 years of age or older," said Dr. Rosenfeld.

Administrators say they are working with more universities on an early acceptance program.

So far Lehigh, Moravian, Muhlenberg and DeSales offer early acceptance to the medical school.