Florida facing doctor shortage as state’s population continues to boom

ORLANDO, Fla. — First there was a nursing shortage, and now a projected doctor shortage.

The issue is more doctors are retiring than entering the field.

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The Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida said the shortage of health care professionals should be dealt with as a crisis.

Florida is anticipated to have booming population growth, with an estimated 25.4 million residents by 2035. A report states that if current trends continue, there would be a projected shortfall of 17,924 doctors in Florida.

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In order to mitigate the crisis, Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior announced that the organization plans to request that the state legislature increase training slots in the statewide Medicaid residency program by increasing program funding by $38 million.

“If you don’t have a strong health care structure, it actually starts to act like a drag on your economic growth,” Senior said.

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The Association of American Medical Colleges said the U.S. will be short by as many as 139,000 physicians by 2033.

There are over 21 million residents in Florida, but the Florida Department of Health says that only 54,677 physicians were actively involved in patient care in the year 2020.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.