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U.S. Shortfall in Neurologists Expected to Get Worse

Current national shortfall of 11 percent projected to increase to 19 percent by 2025

TUESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- The current national shortfall in neurologists is about 11 percent, and is likely to increase to 19 percent by 2025, according to research published online April 17 in Neurology.

Timothy M. Dall, from IHS Healthcare & Pharma in Washington, D.C., and colleagues used a microsimulation supply model to estimate current and project future neurologist supply and demand, from 2012 through 2025, under various scenarios.

The researchers found that the estimated active supply of 16,366 neurologists in 2012 is expected to increase by 2025 to 18,060 neurologists. The effects of the current national shortfall of neurologists include long wait times to see a neurologist, difficulty hiring new neurologists, and large numbers of neurologists who do not accept new Medicaid patients. The demand for neurologists is expected to increase, from an 11 percent shortfall in 2012 to a 19 percent shortfall in 2025. This shortfall includes the increased demand from expanded medical insurance coverage linked to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, which is equivalent to 520 full-time neurologists.

"In the absence of efforts to increase the number of neurology professionals and retain the existing workforce, current national and geographic shortfalls of neurologists are likely to worsen, exacerbating long wait times and reducing access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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