Hawai'i Physician Workforce Summit to address doctor shortage

National, local health-care providers and policymakers convene June 29

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Jun 25, 2010

Leaders in health-care and public policy will meet on Tuesday, June 29, to address the ever-worsening shortage of physicians in Hawai‘i.
The Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Summit convenes at 9 a.m. at the Waikiki Beach Marriott’s Hana Moku Room. The event, a working summit, is not open to the public at large, although more than 100 participants from all islands are taking part. Media coverage of sessions or events may be accommodated.
The summit will include the latest information from the Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment conducted by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).  The assessment, funded by a fee on physician licenses authorized by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, has already uncovered these warning signs:
·       Hawai‘i is at least 500 doctors below national averages, given its population, and the deficit may double or triple in the next decade.
·        The state has roughly 20 percent fewer doctors than it should when compared to physician-to-population ratios nationally.
·        Only about 2,900 doctors were practicing here, with some of those working less than part time. (Previously it was thought that as many as 8,000 physicians might be practicing here, but the study has determined that half of the licenses were held by physicians with mainland addresses, likely people who either are retired in Hawai‘i, practice with the military, or who work in other states but have kept their licenses hoping to return to Hawai‘i.)
·        County by county: O‘ahu has 17 percent fewer physicians than warranted by its population, Hawai‘i County’s shortfall is 38 percent, Maui County has 33 percent too few doctors, and Kaua‘i County’s workforce is 30 percent below the average for its population.
·        Forty-three percent of doctors practicing in Hawai‘i will be 65 or older by the year 2020. (The average age of Hawai‘i physicians, 52.5 years, is older than the national age of 48, and may lead to an estimated 1,100 retirements during the next decade.)
The report of the Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment is due to be presented to the Hawai‘i State Legislature in 2011, and will also include data that has been gathered from focus groups made up of hospital administrators, doctors, students and business leaders.
Summit highlights are as follows:
At 9 a.m., after a greeting by Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of JABSOM, an overview of the summit will be presented by Dr. Josh Green, state senator and president of the Hawai‘i Independent Physician Association.
Sessions in the morning (at 9:15 and 10:15 a.m.) will include presentations by visiting experts in the fields of health economics and workforce throughout the United States.
At 12 noon, Dr. Kelley Withy of JABSOM will present findings of the Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Assessment.
In the afternoon (2-4:30 p.m.), summit participants will join one of three working groups to review possible solutions for overcoming the state’s physician workforce shortage. The working groups include three major areas—supply, demand, and support and retention.
At 4:30 p.m., summit participants will reconvene to receive reports from the working groups and, on the following day, June 30, some participants will meet at the JABSOM campus at 651 Ilalo Street, room 413, to discuss follow-up activities.
The Hawai‘i Physician Workforce Summit is sponsored by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), the Hawai‘i/Pacific Basin Area health Education Center (AHEC), the Hawai‘i Independent Physician Association and the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association.