HD2 - Update on the Virginia Physician Workforce Shortage (HJR 689, 2013)

Executive Summary:

Virginia currently has more than 16,000 practicing physicians; 40 percent of whom practice as family, internal medicine, or pediatric physicians. While the Commonwealth’s physician-to-population ratio is slightly below the national average, there is a maldistribution in which certain primarily rural areas of the State have relatively few physicians. Future workforce shortages, particularly in primary care and surgery specialties, are expected and will need to be addressed. ("Physician Forecasting in Virginia, 2008 – 2030;" Virginia Department of Health Professions).

A number of avenues for addressing maldistribution and health care professional shortages were examined and five policy options were approved by members of the Joint Commission. In general, the approved options include:

• A budget amendment for $400,000 GFs per year (with federal match funding) for the Virginia State Loan Repayment Program.

• A report to JCHC in 2014 by the Department of Health Professions regarding efforts to consider and accept applicable military training as evidence that the educational requirements for certification for certain health professions have been met.

• A request that the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority convene a workgroup to consider and report back to JCHC in 2015 regarding graduate medical education and new State-supported residencies.

• A request that the Department of Health Professions convene a workgroup to consider and report back to JCHC in 2015 regarding the idea of establishing a mid-level provider license.

• A 2014 JCHC-study of the idea of allowing certain providers working within an approved facility to be exempt from Virginia’s scope of practice laws when established conditions have been met.