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Lack of physicians could lead to longer waits

If it’s tough getting into to see the doctor now, expect the problem to get worse.

“With a growing, aging population, the demand for physicians will intensify over the coming years,” said Dr. Michael Grossman, vice president of Academic Affairs for Maricopa Integrated Health System.

“According to AAMC estimates, the United States faces a shortage of more than 90,000 physicians by 2020, a number that will grow to more than 130,000 by 2025.”

When it comes to the physician shortage, the Valley is one area of the country that is feeling it more than others.

“We are worse off than most,” said Grossman. “If you just look at the total number of physicians per 100,000 population, we’re far below the national average.”

There are more students in medical school ready to finish, but it will take time to replenish the amount of physicians.

“The difficulty is, we haven’t been able to keep pace for what happens after,” said Grossman, adding that they are reaching the point where there are more medical students graduating than there accredited physicians to train them.

There are also other factors that will come to play in the coming years. Specifically, the president’s healthcare law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Millions more will be seeking medical care.