IOM report: Medicare ill equipped to handle aging baby boomers

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Obama courts nurses for healthcare reform
Obama courts nurses for healthcare reform
The Medicare system is not ready for the 78 million baby boomers that are headed its way, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine.

The report, which was released Monday, highlights shortages in geriatric specialists, training programs, funding for doctors and team care for elderly patients. There are roughly 7,100 certified geriatricians practicing in the U.S., or one for every 2,500 seniors, according to the report. To make matters worse, low reimbursement rates and other factors may discourage seniors from receiving the best care.

To combat the impending crisis, report authors suggest that all healthcare workers be required to take basic training in geriatric care. They also recommend increasing the minimum number of hours required for direct care training to 120 hours and raising the pay for geriatricians to reflect their advanced, specialized training.

The report points the nation in the right direction towards the building of an effective long-term care workforce, according to Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, in a prepared statement.
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