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Expert Available for Comment on Institute of Medicine Report
Date:4/21/2008

Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce

NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Healthcare Workforce, the nation is not prepared to meet the social and health care needs of this population.

In 2005, there were more than 35 million Americans 65 or older -- roughly 12 percent of the U.S. population. By 2030, when the last of the baby boomers will have reached 65, that number will exceed 70 million. At that time, approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. The number of adults in the U.S. who are older than 85 -- the "old-old" -- is also expected to double, from 4.7 million in 2003 to 9.6 million in 2030, and again, to 20.9 million, in 2050. These are unprecedented demographic shifts.

Improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older adults is the mission of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). "The AGS has long advocated for the types of reforms called for in the IOM's report on building a health care workforce that is prepared to meet the needs of the silver tsunami," says John Murphy, M.D., president-elect of the AGS and professor of medicine and family medicine at Brown Medical School.

Dr. Murphy can speak to a variety of topics affecting baby boomers and the workforce reform including:

-- Recruitment and retention of geriatrics specialists and health care aides

-- Duties and responsibilities of workers at various levels of training

-- Necessary preparation of informal caregivers to tend to the needs of aging family members and friends

-- New models of health care delivery and payment by federal programs such as Medicare reimbursement

"There are a number of solutions to the provider shortage," says Dr. Murphy. "These include federal and state loan forgiveness programs for providers pursuing geriatrics
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SOURCE American Geriatrics Society
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