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Physician Shortage Is Focus Of NJ Legislation

Doctors
Carsten Koall, Getty Images

A report issued by the Physician Workforce Policy Task Force predicted a New Jersey shortfall of nearly 3,000 doctors by 2020. In response, legislation was introduced to address the predicted physician shortage and, ideally, prevent it.

The measure would require the state Health and Senior Services commissioner to hold a summit including the relevant state agencies and boards. The summit would analyze the state’s physician supply and make a plan to solve the problem.

State Senator Robert Singer (R), a co-sponsor of the bill, said New Jersey possesses an older physician pool, and many are going to be retiring. Meanwhile the state has more senior citizens than every state but Florida.

“If we don’t start addressing this, with a large senior population, with the most densely populated state in the country, we have a crisis looming down the road,” Singer said.

He said a possible solution from the summit would be providing incentives for doctors to keep their practices in New Jersey. He said there is a “brain drain” of doctors that go to medical school in New Jersey and leave to practice in their home state.

He continued, “We’re not attracting doctors in some key areas, such as primary care physicians, neurologists, general surgeons, things like that.”

The legislation unanimously passed the full state Senate earlier this month. Singer predicted the measure will hit the full Assembly floor “very soon.”

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