The Unmet Need
A growing aging population, tens of millions of more insured Americans and a declining supply of physicians – both specialists and primary care providers – are creating a “perfect storm” of a severe shortage of physicians. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), by 2020, the United States will have 91,000 fewer physicians than what will be needed to meet anticipated demand. While pharmacists cannot fill the entirety of this immense gap, enabling pharmacist to practice to the full extent of their licenses and training must be seen as part of this solution.
As daunting as this future shortage may be, the reality is that a significant healthcare workforce shortage already exists today. As of June 2014, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had identified about 6,100 Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) – regions where the ratio of primary care physicians to people is 1:3,500. It is these beneficiaries living in HPSAs and related Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) that PAPCC is striving to reach.
This map from the Rural Assistance Center demonstrates the extent of the workforce shortage and medically underserved communities throughout the United States: