U.S. Trails Two Dozen Other Nations In Physicians Per Capita

Two dozen other countries top the United States when it comes to having enough doctors to go around.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranks 25th internationally in physician count per capita, with only 2.5 available doctors per 1,000 patients.

Greece topped the list with 6.2 physicians per 1,000 patients.

This is not the first time America has been called out for not having enough doctors on hand to treat patients.

According to 2013 estimates by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will be 91,500 physicians short by 2020. By 2025, that number is expected to grow to more than 130,600.

Primary care physicians are in especially short supply, experts say, and those numbers are expected to continue to be strained by the Affordable Care Act, which opens the health care system to more people.

“Primary care is the backbone of our medical system, but most people I know in medical school can’t afford to go that route,” Dr. Ryan Stanton, who works at the emergency room of Georgetown Community Hospital outside Lexington, Kentucky, told CNN.

The cost of student loans for medical school – teamed with the lower pay and longer hours associated with primary care – often encourage new med school students to pursue specialty medicine, leaving those in need of a primary physician with even more of a struggle to find one.

The growing population of seniors who are living longer but tend to need more medical care than younger people is in part to blame, experts say.

“We’ve got an aging population that needs more care and a growing population,” said Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians in an interview with CNN.

The international physicians per capita list include:

1. Greece – 6.2
2. Austria – 4.9
3. Norway – 4.2
4. Portugal – 4.1
5. Germany – 4.0
6. Sweden – 3.9
7. Switzerland – 3.9
8. Spain – 3.8
9. Czech Republic – 3.7
10. Italy – 3.9
11. Iceland – 3.6
12. Denmark – 3.5
13. Slovak Republic – 3.4
14. Australia – 3.3
15. Estonia – 3.3
16. Finland – 3.3
17. France – 3.3
18. Israel – 3.3
19. Hungary – 3.1
20. Belgium – 2.9
21. New Zealand – 2.7
22. Luxembourg – 2.8
23. Ireland – 2.7
24. Chile – 2.5
24. U.S. – 2.5

Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed the U.S. ranked 25th internationally in physician count per capita with only 2.5 practicing doctors per 1,000 patients. Greece topped the list at 6.2 physicians per 1,000 patients.

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