Nephrology Workforce Continues to Shrink, ASN Report Shows

Nephrology Business | November 10, 2015

Data in the American Society of Nephrology’s new report shows an 8% drop in new nephrology fellows in 2014 and the prediction of a further drop in 2015.

by Dugan Maddux, MD, FACP, Vice President for Chronic Kidney Disease Initiatives for FMCNA

Last week I attended the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) meeting in San Diego along with thousands of other nephrologists. The 4-day conference, with packed lecture halls and a busy convention center, was attended by a vibrant and robust international nephrology community. Surveying the crowd from the back of a full ballroom, it is hard to imagine there is a U.S. nephrology workforce issue. ASN does not seem short of people or funds.

New information about the state of the nephrology workforce is now available in the recently released U.S. Nephrology Workforce 2015 Development and Trends report prepared for ASN by the George Washington University (GWU) Health Workforce Institute. Data in the report’s executive summary confirms an ongoing disturbing trend, with an 8% drop in new nephrology fellows in 2014 and the prediction of a further drop in 2015. This decrease in the supply of nephrologists may be only one side of the story since some data suggests that the demand for nephrologists may decrease if health care delivery models continue to change.

Shortage of specialists where ESRD is most prevalent

Data presented in the ASN report illustrate that the perceived shortage of nephrologists is in part related to a mal-distribution of dialysis providers. Areas with higher numbers of ESRD patients have fewer nephrologists and a higher ratio of dialysis patients per nephrologist…

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