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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: February 24, 2014 04:00 PM
From: Representative Bryan Cutler and Rep. Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Physician Shortage Resolution
In the near future, we will be introducing a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to study the issue of physician shortages.
In Pennsylvania, nearly 52 percent of physicians are over the age of 50, according to a Department of Health study released in 2010. The same study also found that, of the physicians who plan to leave direct patient care in Pennsylvania in the next five years, 41 percent cited retirement as the reason.
Because of advances in healthcare, we are living longer, and as the baby boom generation ages, our need for physicians across the Commonwealth is increasing as their numbers are decreasing. Currently, we are fourth in the nation in terms of population age 65 and older. By 2020, Pennsylvanians over the age of 60 will account for a quarter of our population, or more than 3 million people, with more than 360,000 of them over the age of 85.
There is much speculation as to why there is a physician shortage in the Commonwealth, including the high cost of medical school, which can leave a physician with as much as $250,000 in student loan debt, to the high cost of malpractice insurance.
This resolution will direct the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to study this matter and to propose strategies for alleviating the physician shortage before it becomes a crisis.

Introduced as HR735