Healthcare Industry in Distress
Today’s U.S. healthcare system is being challenged to transform itself in the face of escalating trends impacting cost, quality and access. Total healthcare spending reached almost $2.5 trillion in 2009 or 17.3 percent of the U.S. economy, according to an annual report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Congressional Budget Office released long-term budget projections in December 2007, in which total healthcare spending would rise to 25 percent of gross domestic product in 2025, 37 percent in 2050, and 49 percent in 2082 in the absence of changes in federal law.
The physician and nurse shortage continues to hamper access to and quality of healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than a million new and replacement nurses will be needed in the U.S. by 2016. A 2008 University of Missouri study published in Health Affairs revealed that the U.S. could face a shortage of up to 44,000 primary care physicians (PCPs) by 2025.
U.S. population growth trends are further compounding the barrier to access to care. While the rate of the U.S. population growth is slowing, it is still substantial – projected to increase to 392 million by 2050, a 50-plus percent increase from the 1990 population size, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More importantly, the country is undergoing a significant shift in demographics.
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