Sunday, September 27, 2015

An Aging Population, Without the Doctors to Match -

We are already at the beginning of a new crisis in American Health Care. For those entering their senior years, according to Dr. David Reuben, a leading geriatrician at the U.C.L.A. Medical Center, a true national crisis is brewing.

Our average population age has gradually drifted up, due to longer life spans, the elimination of death from infectious diseases and cause of death from life-long chronic illness

Many people age prematurely or develop premature neurologic disease from stroke, heredity and chronic disease. The affordable care act will broaden coverage and add previously uniinsured to the insurance roles. Most  patient who are 65 or over and the disabled are covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid.

Venture capitalist and entrepeneurs are investing in long term homes for the aged. National franchises are appearing.

The missing link is the absence of geriatricians.

Currently there are fewer than 8,000 geriatricians in practice nationwide — and that number is shrinking. “We are an endangered species,” said Dr. Rosanne Leipzig, a geriatrician at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York.

At the same time, the nation’s fastest-growing age group is over 65. Government projections hold that in 2050 there will be 90 million Americans 65 and older, and 19 million people over age 85. The American Geriatrics Society argues that, ideally, the United States should have one geriatrician for every 300 aging people. But with the looming shortage of geriatricians, the society projects that by 2030 there will be only one geriatrician for every 3,798 older adults.
A vast majority of Americans have no conception of what lies ahead and — without geriatricians available to provide their health care — how substantially their lives will be affected. I know. It means that soon we may all soon be in the land of the pink bibs.
How will we solve this shortage ? be continued

An Aging Population, Without the Doctors to Match - The New York Times
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