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Your Health Access Alert For Urology Care

Study results presented at the 108th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) indicate a rapidly expanding shortage of urologists through 2025 which may limit access to urology care. It is suspected that this pattern may increase the potential of death from Prostate, Bladder, and Kidney Cancer. As the supply of urologists decreases, there may also be a decrease in access to cancer screening and medical and surgical treatment for other urologic conditions. It is estimated there will be nearly a 30 percent reduction in head count.

  • Since many people without insurance visit U.S. emergency rooms for non-emergent care,  it may be beneficial for all individuals to encourage those uninsured to secure health insurance through The Affordable Care Act during the short enrollment period beginning October 1, 2013. This holds true particularly for non emergent UTI care at hospitals which is linked to high costs, much of which may be out of pocket.
  • Individuals with non-emergent needs in every medical specialty area may assist in providing better access to those with emergent needs by seeking out urgent care or primary care treatment.

Call To Action:

According to study results, factors contributing to the projection in urology include:

  • By 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will be 88.5 million, double the 40.2 million Americans in the same age group in the year 2010.-1-
  • Threats to graduate medical education funding, a decline in the number of American Board of Medical Specialties urology certifications and an increase in the number of surgeons nearing retirement age.

Even if residency slots were to increase by 15 percent, the anticipated retirement and/or attrition rates would still outpace the number of available positions, resulting in a 28 percent overall reduction of urologists in the workforce.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill conducted the study.  Previous studies did not project as much of a significant impact. “Despite an increase in the demand for urologists as the American population ages, researchers project a dramatic decrease in the number of urologists needed due to various reasons including a lack of graduate medical education funding, an aging urologic workforce nearing retirement, and a shortage of academic urologists needed to train urology residents,” said AUA Health Policy Vice Chair Dr. Chris Gonzalez, session moderator. “These trends could have a significant impact on the millions of individuals who may require urological care in the future and it is our hope that this and other recent studies focused on the urologic workforce shortage bring these crucial issues to the forefront.”

– 1 – Vincent, Grayson K. and Victoria A. Velkoff, 2010, THE NEXT FOUR DECADES, The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050, Current Population Reports, P25-1138, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.
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