Impending doctor shortage, worrisome to local hospitals - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Impending doctor shortage, worrisome to local hospitals

Posted: Updated:
Dr. Greg Thompson Dr. Greg Thompson
Eric Erickson Eric Erickson
Mason Quackenbush Mason Quackenbush
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

A decrease in doctors in the upcoming years may have a direct impact on patient care.

"Our population is aging and as we age, we need more medical care and so it's increasing the number of medical care that we need to provide," expressed Dr. Greg Thompson, a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Chief Medical Officer, and Director of Medical Education at Gundersen Health System.

A number of physicians also are part of that aging demographic retiring rapidly from the workforce. 

"Every day there's ten thousand plus baby boomers now eligible for medicare and they're enrolling," said Eric Erickson, Vice President of Primary Care at Mayo Clinic Health System. 

This shortage is making recruitment tactics for young professionals even more critical. 

"There will be more medical students who are graduating from medical schools, but they all need residencies after they graduate. And that is where we have a limitation right now as well, we are right about at the break point where we might actually be training more medical students than we have residency positions available," added Thompson.

Mason Quackenbush, Director of Human Resources at Gundersen said the number of students pursuing a medical career is stagnant, the issue is the length of time that training and residency takes.

"Over the last ten years, our workforce for physicians has actually gotten younger. So we're about a quarter of a year younger, a few months younger than we were then which is a testament to that recruitment process," said Quackenbush.

The projected shortfall is estimated to range from 34,600 to 88,000 doctors by 2025 and by 2030, it's expected to hit anywhere from 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.

"Physicians are also working longer than they had in the past. What we do, is we accommodate that workforce and so we're seeing more part-time individuals, more flexible schedules. Those types of things so we can keep them in the workforce longer and take advantage of that skill that they've had," added Quackenbush.

All while looking at innovative and efficient ways to provide care with other medical positions and telemedicine, in an effort to fill that void. 

MORE INFORMATION: Gundersen Health System

MORE INFORMATION: Mayo Clinic Health System

Powered by Frankly