California Running Out of Health Care Providers

The situation is looking a little bleak, according to Jeff Oxendine of the UC-Berkeley School of Public Health. “We currently have work force shortages in primary care, clinical laboratory science workers, pharmacy and public health, those are already in shortage,” Oxendine said recently at an informational panel discussion in the Capitol Building, put on by the California Health Policy Forum. “And it’s about to get worse.” The health care provider shortage will be felt even more acutely, he said, because demand is about to boom. “The aging of the state will increase demand dramatically,” he said. In fact, the baby boomer population started to reach retirement age this year, and the number of seniors in California is expected to double by 2020. By 2030, one in five Californians will be older than age 65. Seniors use more health care resources, Oxendine said.

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