WCMEW Report Projects Primary Care Physician Shortfall

A recent Wisconsin Council on Medical Education & Workforce (WCMEW) report has projected a statewide primary care physician (PCP) shortfall of 745 doctors by 2035.

The report says new training and education programs have increased PCP expansion and retention in Wisconsin, but demand is still outpacing the provider supply, especially in rural areas. 40 percent of the PCP workforce is expected to retire by 2035, according to the report. Demand is expected to increase by 21 percent.

The report says, “Wisconsin cannot expect to fill the demand for primary care through the physician workforce alone” and noted that, due to advanced practice clinicians, the lack of PCPs may not actually reflect lack of access to primary care.

WCMEW included recommendations for continued emphasis on infrastructure and long-term planning and for leveraging data in decision making. The recommendations include:

  • Fund workforce development projects in underserved areas.
  • Increase coordination of clinical training sites.
  • Recruit students who are likely to stay to underserved areas.
  • Build workforce priorities into strategic planning.
  • Develop advanced practice clinician workforce data.
  • Identify best practices for team-based care.
  • Track long-term outcomes of programs.
  • Develop methods to more accurately assess care delivery trends (e.g. tracking transportation patterns).
  • Identify providers that will be needed as Wisconsin’s population ages.