Why America’s Infectious Disease Doctors Are In Short: Money Isn’t In Place

Since the outbreak began, as of May 9, more than 1.3 million new cases of corolla have been confirmed in the United States, with more than 70,000 deaths. In response to the outbreak, the United States has also been building square-cabin hospitals, imposing bans on footage, and requiring Americans to stay at a social distance. A large number of U.S. health care workers have also rushed to the front line, but embarrassingly, infectious disease experts who can really help the U.S. fight the outbreak and care for patients are in short supply.

Why America's Infectious Disease Doctors Are In Short: Money Isn't In Place

The United States has become the world’s most severe new corona epidemic of the country, the United States in the field of infectious diseases health care workers shoulder a major responsibility. But according to the Internal Medicine Committee, there are currently only 8,374 doctors in the United States who are qualified to practice medicine for infectious diseases. Dr. Thomas Philae, president of the American Society for Infectious Diseases, said the number of people applying for infectious disease training programs has fallen by about 20 percent in the past decade.

“We need to significantly increase the number of infectious disease doctors to respond to future demands and the possibility of another outbreak in the future,” Philae said. Without this outbreak, we would not have realized the importance of doing so. “In addition to being able to diagnose and treat patients, infectious disease doctors can help us, like epidemiologists, to respond to an outbreak, such as this new coronavirus outbreak.

Infectious disease specialists are among the lowest-paid doctors in the United States.

Experts say one of the main reasons for the shortage of infectious disease specialists is that doctors in the field of infectious diseases are paid less than other professions. “There aren’t enough infectious disease experts like me in the world right now,” Dr. Emily Langdon, a medical infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago, told Business Insider. “

In an interview with Business Insider, Langdon said she saw a key problem in responding to the current outbreak of the new coronavirus: the lack of people on the ground who could understand the virus and help society cope with the damage. “It’s a job that makes it hard to pay off medical student loans, ” Langdon said. “

According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the average loan for medical schools in the United States will be $200,000 in 2018. According to medscape, a medical website, the average annual salary of infectious disease specialists in the United States in 2019 was just $239,000, ranking only 25th out of 29 medical majors.

In addition, access to infectious medicine is difficult. After graduating from medical school, it takes five years of training to become an infectious disease specialist, and it takes only three years of additional training to become a physician, who not only has short training time but also earns more money. “The biggest obstacle to getting into our field is probably financial considerations, ” says Mr Philae. “

Infectious disease doctors rank 25th in the medical field.

Mr Philae said that while the number of people applying for jobs in the sector had been declining over the past decade, the intense recruitment efforts of the past few years had eased the situation. But the number of applicants in this area is still not increasing.

Urgentneed for improved public health and infectious disease infrastructure

To stem the decline and get more infectious disease doctors, Mr. Philae said, the U.S. needs to reallocate the income of specialist doctors, whether it’s surgery or counseling patients, and doctors should be paid more evenly.

About six months ago, the American Society for Infections submitted a recommendation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to consider changing the discrepancy, but the outbreak of the new coronavirus has attracted attention. Philae is not sure whether the proposals will be on the agenda once the outbreak has passed. But he believes the current crisis shows the need to improve the entire public health and infectious disease infrastructure.

Even without an outbreak, infectious disease doctors play an important role. For example, they can help patients infected with drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals. “Various studies have been published that show that if patients can be treated by infectious disease specialists, the results will be better, ” Philae said. Not only is treatment more effective, shorter hospital stays, lower costs, lower readmission rates, and lower mortality rates. “

Last year, in an op-ed in The New York Times, infectious disease expert Dr. Matt McCarthy wrote, “As the number of infectious disease experts declines, the future crisis can be said to be imminent.” In the past, there were only a few reliable antibiotics to choose from. But as more and more bacteria emerge and they begin to become resistant to traditional treatments, we have to develop new drugs to deal with them. “

Just months before the first case of new coronary pneumonia was discovered in Wuhan, China, McCarthy wrote in his final column in 2019: “We have to hurry up, and superbugs are coming at us.” We really need experts who understand how to deal with them. “