Black doctors criticize healthcare worker system as ‘broken’

Doctor holding boy's hand in hospital bed.

A doctor holds a boy’s hand in a hospital bed. (Getty Images)

Black medical professionals are being sued by the Senate to fill vacancies created by a health worker shortage that is expected to reduce the number of American doctors by more than 100,000 over the next decade.

But black doctors are discouraged from entering and remaining in the industry due to a “broken” system that perpetuates mounting debt, unfair compensation, underinvestment in black medical students, and abuse of medical professionals at the height of the world’s economy. It points out the major obstacles. COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Our system is broken and we as residents are justified for the time we spend sacrificing our health to save lives,” said Samuel Cooke, a resident at Morehouse College of Medicine. I have not received any compensation,” he said at a roundtable discussion he hosted. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. at an Atlanta-based school.

“For too long, we have slipped through cracks in a health care system that blatantly and openly abuses legally binding investments in this sector. It’s time to wake up,” Cook said. he continued.

what is the danger?

A doctor crouches on the hospital floor.

A doctor crouches on the hospital floor. (Getty Images)

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates there will be a shortfall of up to 124,000 doctors by 2034. Demand for physicians is expected to outpace physician placements due to an aging US population.

Nearly 230,000 health professionals, including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists and certified clinical social workers, will be in the workforce by 2021, according to a 2022 report from Definitive Healthcare, a company that tracks medical data and analytics. It was revealed that he left the industry in the fourth quarter of the year.

Mental, physical and emotional burnout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers to leave their professions to avoid the unknown dangers of an unprecedented medical crisis, health professionals said. ,It has said.

“Hospital administrators treat nurses and other hospital staff like disposables during the pandemic, don’t care if we live or die, and provide life-saving personal protective equipment until forced to do so. And now I wonder why the nurses ran from their bedsides,” Deborah Berger, a registered nurse and president of National Nurses United, said in a statement to Yahoo News. Told.

About 47% of healthcare workers are expected to quit their jobs by 2025, according to a survey. Sanders is trying to address concerns that a shortage of health care workers will prevent the United States from preparing for new pandemics.

“We don’t have the public health infrastructure we need state by state. We certainly don’t have the doctors and nurses we need,” Sanders said at the roundtable. “So what we are trying to do now is introduce legislation that will create more doctors, more nurses, more dentists.”

What is the disparity among black doctors?

Patients are vaccinated during their visit.

Patients are vaccinated during their visit. (Getty Images)

Currently, only 5.7% of U.S. physicians are black.

According to the AAMC, one reason for the shortage of black doctors can be traced back to the 1910 Flexner Report, commissioned by the American Medical Association and the Carnegie Foundation to establish a gold standard for medical training. The report led to the closure of more than half of American medical schools in the early 1900s. This historically included 5 of the 7 black medical colleges.

In testimony, Janet E. Southpole, executive vice president and president of Meharry College of Medicine in Nashville, told Sanders, “Shortage is particularly acute in areas that are underserved,” he said.

Meharry Medical College is one of only four historically black medical colleges. According to the AAMC, HBCUs make up less than 3% of his total medical degree-granting institutions, yet produce more than half of black graduates into the medical field.

The pandemic has also exposed chronic health disparities in minority communities, such as access to treatment and premature death from pre-existing conditions, imposing a disproportionate burden on black and brown communities.

Morehouse School of Medicine President Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., said, “The HBCU School of Medicine has a longstanding commitment to developing medical professionals from diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to serving in these underserved areas. Given that, we are uniquely positioned to address this shortfall.” told CNN.

What is the solution?

Bernie Sanders.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Berney, Vermont) said at a news conference Wednesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sanders said more efforts are needed to build a high school-to-college pipeline and attract diverse candidates to medical jobs. But black doctors and black medical directors want to ensure that black medical professionals can succeed.

Many schools support a bipartisan congressional proposal to reduce the trainee shortage of 2023, which would increase Medicare-funded training quotas by 14,000 over seven years. School leaders support the plan.

Sanders has proposed canceling $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, which would “reduce the racial rich-poor gap among America’s young people by more than half” and help “those most in need of care.” Doctors and nurses will be able to work freely in areas where

Additionally, the Congressional Pathway to Practice proposal and the National Medical Service Act Scholarship Program will prioritize applications from HBCUs, Minority Assistance Institutions (MSI), and underserved communities. become.

AAMC also encourages increased federal investment in MSI to settle the medical community’s undervalued student debt and expand medical schools.

“But also more than 150 other medical schools, besides the four historically black medical schools, have a duty to the country to increase the diversity of the students they train,” Professor Rice stressed, noting that He stressed that it would help reduce inequalities in affected communities.

Medical experts also support efforts to reduce burnout, an issue that Congress hopes to address in a 2022 law aimed at improving mental and behavioral health.

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