Seeing a doctor could become more difficult in years to come, as a nationwide shortage of doctors is expected to impact Louisiana. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts we could see 88,000 fewer doctors by 2025.

Dean of the School of Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. Steve Nelson, says one reason for that is the increased need for medical services.
“We’re all getting older, so in terms of the number of patients that are going to require care as the population gets older will only increase,” Nelson said.

Nelson adds that doctors are also aging, which means there are fewer of them still able to practice. He says Louisiana ranks 15th in the nation for the oldest physician population. He says Medicaid expansion has also put a strain on doctors.

“Since then, I think over 325,000 individuals now are enrolled in Medicaid. So once people get insurance, health insurance, they usually start utilizing that service,” Nelson said.

Nelson says the shortages are most pronounced in rural areas. He says LSU is doing what it can to keep medical students in Louisiana to practice, including giving tuition incentives to those who continue their training in the state. He says their efforts are paying off.

“Louisiana has one of the highest rates in terms of our graduates that actually stay in Louisiana to continue their training,” Nelson said.