Are too many young docs leaving NJ?

A new report from the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals shows that many young doctors leave the garden state after completing their post medical school training. The apparently aptly named 2009 New Jersey Resident Exit Survey Final Report found that fewer than one in three residents intend to remain in New Jersey after completing their residency.

“This year’s exit survey is alarming,” said J. Richard Goldstein, president of the council, in a statement. “The primary driving force responsible for the dramatic decline in New Jersey is that other states are now stepping up their recruitment efforts to deal with their own shortages. To put it simply: Their offers are better then ours.”

And as a result the council estimates that there will be a 3,250 shortfall of physicians in New Jersey.

In recent years, similar predictions of doctor shortfalls have been made by professional groups in Pennsylvania, particularly in the context of medical malpractice insurance costs, which many claim drives doctors to leave high cost areas, such as Philadelphia and its suburbs.

A report by the American Association of Medical Colleges said that in 2008 New Jersey ranked 10th in doctors per 100,000 residents with 25,463 active doctors, citing data from the American Medical Association. And Pennsylvania ranked 9th in the AAMC report with 36,838. Both states were above the national average of 219.6 per 100,000 patients.

Neither state did as well in terms of its primary care doctor workforces, ranking 13th and 14 respectively,  according to the AAMC.  Both states, however, were still above the national average by that measure.

Despite those numbers, large pockets of doctor shortages exist, especially in poor urban and rural areas, as Christina Hernandez pointed out in this article in Monday's Health & Science section.