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A Shortage of Orthopedic Surgeons is Looming [White Paper]

November 12, 2019

A Shortage of Orthopedic Surgeons is Looming [White Paper]

By Phillip Miller, VP at Merritt Hawkins


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of hip replacements among people 45 and over increased from 138,700 to 310,800 over the opening decade of this century, while the rate of these procedures increased from 142 per 100,000 people to 257 per 100,000.


These numbers tell you all you need to know regarding why demand for orthopedic surgeons is rising. Population aging is driving the need for a wide range of specialists who treat conditions common to older citizens, including orthopedic surgeons. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects a shortage up of to 122,000 physicians by 2032. Of these, up to 55,000 will be primary care physicians, while an even larger number (up to 67,000) will be specialists. The AAMC projects a shortage of up to 23,000 surgeons.


The supply of orthopedic surgeons is limited due to the relatively small number who complete residency each year – a number that is inhibited by the 1997 cap Congress placed on funding for physician graduate medical education (GME). Supply also will be increasingly limited by retirements in the specialty. Close to 60% of orthopedic surgeons in active practice are 55 years old or older, and a “retirement cliff” in the specialty is looming. As a result, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) projects a shortage of 5,080 orthopedic surgeons by 2025.


Given current market realities, how can hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare organizations successfully recruit the orthopedic surgeons they need?


Merritt Hawkins addresses that question in a new white paper entitled, Orthopedic Surgery: Supply, Demand and Recruiting Trends. The white paper traces the origins of orthopedic surgery, reviews educational and training requirements in the specialty, and examines factors driving supply and demand.


It also includes a discussion of “best practices” that can be employed when recruiting orthopedic surgeons, including how to structure the practice to be appealing to candidates, setting candidate parameters, and candidate selection strategies.


Readers can access this timely new resource here.




Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins, the nation’s leading physician search firm and a company of AMN Healthcare. He can be reached here.

 


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