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Arthritis & Rheumatology has published the results of the 2015 Workforce Study of Rheumatology Specialists, and estimates a current shortage (demand > supply) of 700 (12.9%) full-time rheumatologists and that this deficit will worsen (102%) to 4133 FTE by 2030.
Using primary and secondary data sources, the committee estimated the baseline adult rheumatology workforce and determined supply vs demand projections through 2030.
As of 2015, the adult workforce (physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) was estimated to be 6,013 providers (5,415 clinical FTE). At baseline, the estimated demand exceeded the supply of clinical FTE by 700 (12.9%).
Previous projections for a manpower shortfall lead to a 4.6% increase in adult fellowship programs (108 to 113) and a 17.6% increase in fellow-ship positions, from 398 to 468. Nevertheless, the increase in training is insufficient to close the gap between supply and future demand.
Other key points from this article:
- There is a geographic maldistribution of adult rheumatologists across the US that will worsen over the next 15 years.
- These deficits are in part related to baby‐boomer retirements, a millennial predominance, and an increase of female and part‐time providers, in parallel with an increased demand for adult rheumatology care due to an increasing and aging US population.
- Effective strategies to recruit fellows, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to support the adult rheumatology workforce will be necessary to address the anticipated workforce gap.
- Processes to retain rheumatology providers in the workforce and to facilitate access to quality care must be explored.
ACR/ARHP workforce projects a signiﬁcant adult rheumatology workforce shortage over the next 15 years; this is in parallel with the projections for a national physician shortage and shortages in other sub-specialties.