Residency match results not encouraging for adults needing primary care

March 18, 2010

The number of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies inched higher from 2009 but not enough to significantly impact the shortage of primary care physicians.

According to the 2010 National Resident Matching Program report, 2,722 U.S. seniors at medical schools enrolled in an internal medicine residency program, a 3.4 percent increase from 2,632 in 2009. The internal medicine enrollment numbers are similar to 2008 (2,660), 2007 (2,680), and 2006 (2,668). In comparison, 3,884 U.S. medical school graduates chose internal medicine residency programs in 1985.

"Multiple studies have shown that the U.S. is facing a shortage of ," said Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, Deputy Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President, Medical Education and Publishing, for the American College of Physicians (ACP). "ACP has consistently called for health care reform to ensure that all Americans have access to a primary care physician, which is crucial for both preventive care and long-term treatment of complex and ."

The 2010 match numbers include students who will ultimately enter a subspecialty of internal medicine, such as cardiology or gastroenterology. Currently, about 20 to 25 percent of internal medicine residents eventually choose to specialize in general internal medicine, compared with 54 percent in 1998.

"Because it takes a minimum of three years of residency after four years of medical school to train an internist, it is critical to begin making careers in internal medicine attractive to young physicians," said Dr. Weinberger. "As America's increases and more people gain access to affordable coverage, the demand for general internists and other primary care doctors will drastically outpace the primary care physician supply."

Increasing Medicaid and Medicare payments to primary care physicians, expanding pilot testing and implementation of patient-centered medical homes, and increasing support for primary care training programs are ways to increase the number of primary care physicians, according to ACP.

ACP remains concerned about the rising cost of medical education and the resulting financial burden on physicians who choose careers in internal medicine, Dr. Weinberger noted.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.