This interim report describes the activities completed in the first year of a two-year study to examine Virginia’s educational pipelines for certain health care professionals. The study, undertaken by the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC), will examine the educational pipelines for physicians (including certain specialists), pharmacists, dentists and clinical psychologists as well as current and projected workforce shortages for those professionals.
The demand for health care services is expected to increase as Virginia’s population increases (and as the percentage of older residents increases) over the next few decades. Consequently, it will be important to anticipate future workforce shortages among health care professionals and to take action to prevent or minimize any shortages.
This interim study reviewed characteristics of the higher education programs offered for physicians, pharmacists, dentists and clinical psychologists and examined the current availability of these licensed professionals. Based on study findings, JCHC members voted to take two actions:
The JCHC Chairman was authorized to request by letter that the Board of Medicine save an electronic copy of its Doctor’s Profile database on an annual basis. The database includes information about physicians licensed to practice in Virginia, including their practice specialties and locations. Archiving the database would be a simple procedure that would allow for developing more accurate projections and trend models related to Virginia’s physician workforce.
JCHC staff was authorized to collaborate with the National Center for the Analysis of Healthcare Data (within the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine) in completing this study. This collaboration will enhance the comprehensiveness of the workforce data that can be collected and analyzed.
On behalf of the Joint Commission and staff, I would like to thank the numerous individuals who assisted in this study, including representatives from Argosy University, Carilion Clinic, Department of Health Professions, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, George Mason University, Hampton University, INOVA Health System, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Radford University, Regent University, Shenandoah University, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, University of Appalachia, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Consortium, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Psychological Association, and Virginia Tech.