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South Carolina Physician Workforce Report Now Available

COLUMBIA, SC - December 8, 2011 - A new report released by the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning provides a detailed description of the physician workforce in the state, and information about how the physician education system in South Carolina is changing.  Using multiple sources, including information provided by physicians themselves, this report identifies several issues that influence the availability of medical services in the state.

  • The number of physicians practicing in South Carolina has been growing faster than the population, but the state still ranks lower than most states in the total number of physicians and the number of primary care physicians for each 10,000 persons in the state.
  • The opening of two new medical schools in the state will double our capacity to educate new physicians over the next 4 years, but that may not be enough to offset the number of physicians that are expected to retire over the next decade.
  • One barrier to retaining the new physicians who will be educated in the state is a limited number of graduate-level training opportunities. Most are funded with federal dollars, and budget-cutting efforts in Washington are expected to further reduce support for this critical part of physician education.

The aging of the physician workforce (about one-fifth are now age 60 or older) is occurring at the same time that the number of South Carolinians age 65 or older is increasing rapidly.  The two trends together may create a critical shortage of physicians in the state over the next decade.

Additional information about physician clinical specialties, demographics, and work patterns is included in this report which can be downloaded for free from the Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning website: www.officeforhealthcareworkforce.org

The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning, part of the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium at the Medical University of South Carolina, is funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment.  Located in Charlotte, NC, the Duke Endowment seeks to fulfill the legacy of James B. Duke by improving lives and communities in the Carolinas through higher education, health care, rural churches and children’s services. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded nearly $2.7 billion in grants.

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