Minnesota is facing a doctor shortage.
In 1980, the State Legislature created a graduate medical education program to protect against future doctor shortages. The program aimed to provide a flow of doctors with a wide range of disciplines to the entire state. Today, we face shortages again and the quality of health care in Minnesota is threatened.
Nationally, we are facing an expected shortage of 90,000 doctors in primary and specialty care in the next ten years. Minnesota will be short by as many as 2,000 physicians alone. This is driven in part by the fact that many of our current doctors are nearing retirement age. In fact, one in three physicians working in Minnesota will retire in the next ten years - but we also have a shortage of new doctors graduating from residencies and there aren't enough residents to replace them.
A shortage will disproportionately impact primary care and rural access to health care services.
What is the best way to get new doctors to work and live in Minnesota? Train them here. Our research shows: 67% of doctors trained in Minnesota, stay in Minnesota.
Graduate medical education is the answer. It's a partnership between eight teaching hospitals in the state, federal government, state government and medical students. Without all four entities working together, we can't continue Minnesota's tradition of quality health care.
In 2011 and 2012, the state of Minnesota cut 50% of their funding contribution - effectively eliminating training for 115 future doctors each year. But it's not too late. With adequate and stable funding, Minnesota can train and keep professionals in primary care, specialty practices and other health fields.