There are shortages of primary care physicians and specialists.[3] All health professions are facing personnel shortages: dental, mental health, pharmacy, and allied health—to name a few. population is more than 315 million and growing.[4] By 2030, 72 million Americans will be 65 or older, a 50 percent shift in age demographics since 2000.[5] The shift is mostly due to the aging baby boomers, who were born at the conclusion of World War II.

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Medical education should include new incentives for primary care.

An emphasis on GME residency slots for primary care in the Medicare program might help to reverse the decline.[19] Higher Intensity of Care.

An estimated 30 million Americans are expected to gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and a healthy and sizable workforce will be needed to meet the increased demand.

The health care workforce is already facing a critical shortfall of health professionals over the next decade.

In terms of work flow, this means the number of medical professionals needed to care for a patient depends on the gravity or nature of the patient’s medical condition.

As the population ages, the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases will increase significantly, requiring additional labor hours to ensure quality of care.

Without more graduates from nursing and medical schools and increased innovation in shared roles and responsibilities among doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, individuals and families will face longer wait times, greater difficulty accessing providers, shortened time with providers, increased costs, and new frustrations with care delivery. Pent-up demand from those waiting for a plastic card and attracted by the promise of “free” or heavily subsidized services is expected.

Of course, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals want to help people in need, but the sheer logistics of expanded care delivery, the current and growing shortage of personnel, and limited resources will certainly undercut the good intentions of the policymakers who crafted the national health law.

“Patient acuity” is a measurement of the intensity of care required to care for a patient.

The higher the acuity, the more care a patient requires.

With the new demand for medical services for the millions who are expected to enroll in Medicaid and the federal and state insurance exchanges, the workforce shortages could become catastrophic.