UH Med Now
MD Workforce Report: More than 150 doctors left Hawaii in 2019; Extended local training helps ease some gaps
By Tina Shelton, JABSOM Communications Director
Other losses came through retirement or reductions in hours of practice. Ninety-one physicians retired in 2019; 123 decreased their hours, and four passed away. Currently, 245 physician jobs are open, waiting to be filled, statewide. The workforce need is much greater as only a minority of physicians in the state are employed.
Physicians leaving practice in Hawaii is only one side of the story. In terms of physicians entering practice in the state versus leaving practice, Hawaii had a net gain of 47 doctors overall in 2019. Unfortunately, the need for physicians continued to grow, nullifying this net gain in doctors. Thus the statewide physician shortage remains somewhere between 519 and 820 doctors based on the average U.S. use of physician services by a population like ours. The higher number (820) is projected when researchers accounted for island specific needs.
Learn about State Educational Loan Repayment, Preceptor Tax Credit and other incentives JABSOM has successfully advocated for to support local physicians at http://www.ahec.hawaii.edu/
County results, specialty shortages
“We used to have a severe shortage of cardiologists appearing on the top of the shortage list on Oahu, but that has eased somewhat because heart specialists are now being trained locally through a fellowship established by the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and The Queen’s Medical Center. Similarly, the Hawaii Island Family Medicine Residency` program has eased the shortage of Family Medicine doctors there.”
Dr. Withy, Director of the JABSOM Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center, said the proposed creation of a Maui-based JABSOM medical student training site, and eventually a residency training program on that island, as proposed by the University of Hawaii and Governor David Ige, shows great promise for growing the supply of physicians on Maui.
Research by both UH and the Association of American Medical Colleges has shown that medical students who attend school in Hawaii and complete their advanced training here are more than 80% likely to remain in-state to practice their profession.
The Physican Workforce Assessment survey is conducted by the University of Hawaii medical school with proceeds from a small fee placed on doctors’ licenses, which must be renewed every two years. More than 10,000 physicians hold Hawaii physician licenses, but only 3,484 are practicing in civilian settings.
To access the report in full, go to: https://www.hawaii.edu/govrel/docs/reports/2020/act18-sslh2009_2020_physician-workforce_annual-report.pdf
An additional resource for information, which focuses on the UH medical school’s graduate medical education, can be found at https://www.hawaii.edu/govrel/docs/reports/2020/hrs304a-1704_2020_hmec_annual-report_508.pdf