A Major Shortage Of End-Of-Life Doctors Is Coming

A declining number of physicians specialized in palliative care looms and won’t recover for 25 years without major U.S. health policy changes, new research in the June issue of Health Affairs shows.

Research led by Dr. Arif Kamal at Duke University shows about one-third of palliative care clinicians are burned out and about two in five are 56 years of age or older, making a shortage almost certain to begin in less than a decade. Currently, there are about 7,600 physicians who are board certified in palliative care generally and have completed a fellowship and come from a variety of medical disciplines including pulmonology, oncology and primary care. 

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