With a population growing more than twice as fast as the national average – and people living longer and experiencing more chronic illness – the demand for health care has never been greater. Unfortunately, Texas has too few physicians to meet the health care needs of its growing population.
The state has well-document shortages of primary care physicians and other specialists, including psychiatrists. More than 80 percent of Texas counties are designated as mental health professional shortage areas, and about 40 percent of Texas counties’ primary care health needs are not currently being met. Shortages of nurses and allied health professionals contribute to this problem.
The Texas Legislature has invested significant funds to increase the size of the health care workforce in Texas, but continued investment is required to combat the severe shortage of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.
Growing the health care workforce, including the number of behavioral health professionals, in Texas is a top priority for the Texas Hospital Association.
Soaring Staff Vacancies Result in Reduced Hospital Services
While health care workforce shortages existed long before COVID-19, the pandemic acutely impacted the people who provide care inside the walls of hospitals – from burnout and fatigue to leaving the profession altogether. The pandemic exacerbated the situation, and Texas hospitals are now in an unsustainable workforce crisis that threatens hospitals’ ability to care for Texans.
Graduate Medical Education
The formal education of a physician begins with an undergraduate degree and ends with a residency or fellowship. Graduate medical education, or GME, is critical clinical education that follows the completion of medical school. This document explains the importance of continued state and federal investment in that training and provides an overview of the sources and limits of their investment.
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