It seems everyone wants to add a physiatrist to their practice, hospital, etc.  There are so many physical medicine and rehabilitation jobs on ourwebsite.  Interventional physiatry jobs are also plentiful.  Who’s going to fill all these openings?  What’s the supply of physiatrists in the US?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor supply with pictures of doctors

The number of medical school applicants from 2018 to 2019 increased by 1.1%.  This very small increase doesn’t bode well for physician supply in general.  Many more physicians, to include physiatrists, are needed to fill all the physical medicine and rehabilitation jobs.  Medical school enrollment from 2002 to present is 52% higher.  This seems to be a good trend but one that really needs to escalate at a faster pace.    My understanding is that all but one PM&R residency spot was filled this year.  The competition for physiatry residencies is ever increasing although it isn’t high relative to other specialties.

An NIH study titled Physiatry Workforce in 2019 And Beyond said that 37% of the 8,853 physiatrists surveyed indicated that their physical medicine and rehabilitation job workload exceeded capacity (maybe burnout), 59% are working at capacity and 4% under capacity.  There was a national shortfall of 940 physiatrists in 2017.  From 2017 to 2030, the projected growth in physiatrist supply will approximately equal the demand.   However in 2030, there will be a shortfall of 1,080 physiatrists unless there’s a change in delivery.

What does the supply of physical medicine and rehabilitation physiatrists look like?  The average age of a physiatrist is 40 years old.  The largest percentage, approximately 35%, of PM&R doctors stay in their job 1 – 2 years with 18% of physiatrists staying in their job 5 – 7 years.  The states with the most physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors  in the U.S. are NY, FL, TX and CA and SD, WY, AK, VT have the least number of physiatrists.

It’s much more difficult to find candidates for physical medicine and rehabilitation jobs to include interventional physiatry jobs than it was years ago.  Now even highly desirable areas like NYC and San Diego request outside recruitment help.  Twenty years ago, Farr Healthcare, Inc. was recruiting inpatient and TBI/SCI/general outpatient physiatrists; 15 years ago interventional positions were added; 5 years ago to now subacute, pelvic rehab and telemedicine have been added to the mix.

Most residents go into interventional physiatry jobs for many reasons to include their interest in the field, their student loans and to expand their service capability.  Covid caused many physiatrists to retire.  Some rehab hospitals are using internists because of the lack of supply in physiatrists.  There is less interest among physiatrists for inpatient work because of the paperwork, dealing with insurances, call, etc.  The younger physiatrists are looking for a work/life balance and for that reason some of them are going into outpatient, subacute, and skilled nursing facility work.

Please check out physical medicine and rehabilitation practice opportunities here.