Congresswomen Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn-3) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) reintroduced the Geriatrics Loan Forgiveness Act, which aims to address the national shortage of geriatric specialist by allowing these specialists to participate in the existing National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, encouraging more health care professionals to be certified in geriatrics. This program currently forgives up to $25,000 on behalf of an individual for the first two years of obligated service.
"We have a growing senior population, which is expected to double to 70 million by 2030, yet we do not have nearly enough geriatric physicians to effectively care for the nation's growing number of seniors. Currently they are less than 9,000 geriatric physicians practicing in the United States, far below the 36,000 or more needed by 2030. The Geriatics Loan Forgiveness Act would provide important incentives for health care graduates to enter geriatric specialties and to help avoid this potential shortfall," said Congresswoman DeLauro.
"With baby boomers reaching retirement and our ever growing senior population, it is imperative that our nation have enough geriatric doctors to care for seniors and their medical requirements. This legislation would offer graduating physicians enticements to enter geriatric specialties and pursue work in that critical field. I urge my colleagues to support this worthy bill," said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen Quote
"Providing care for our expanding older population is one of America's most important health care priorities. We must encourage young clinicians to pursue careers in the care of older adults. The Geriatric Loan Forgiveness Act is a major step in fostering these career decisions. We are grateful to Representatives DeLauro and Ros-Lehtinen for introducing this legislation," said Leo Cooney, M.D., Chief, Section of Geriatrics, Yale University School of Medicine.
Geriatric specialists are the foundation of high-quality, comprehensive health care for our older adults. This kind of specialized care is complicated and demanding. For example:
The average 75-year-old suffers from 3 chronic conditions and takes 5 prescription medications.
About 80% of the senior population has 1 or more chronic conditions.
In 2002, older people made up 13% of the U.S. population yet accounted for 36% of all hospital stays, 49% of all days of hospital care, and 50% of all physician hours.