Developing policy to address the shortage of neurologists who treat multiple sclerosis

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Kathryn E. Sanchez, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
Demand for physicians could increase by 4% as a result of the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Neurologists are facing the brunt of this shortage, as patients wait 28 days on average to see a neurologist compared to the average wait of 15.5 days in cardiology. Patients with Multiple sclerosis (MS) specifically face the burden of this physician shortage because general neurologists feel that they lack the specific knowledge to treat MS. While many of the factors that contribute to the lack of MS subspecialists are known, the types of policies that can be implemented to ameliorate this shortage have not been fully investigated. Herein I propose a strategic policy for hospitals that implements educational programs in neurodegenerative diseases and leverages the resources of existing not-for-profit organizations that are concerned with treatment for MS patients. In this manner, supplementary instruction and coursework on MS and other neurological disorders can be provided to both neurology residents and neurology physician assistants. To determine the feasibility of a collaborative training program policy, I first assessed the monetary resources of the National MS Society, the American Neurological Association, and the Association of American Medical Colleges using public financial data collected from the not-for-profit donation website, Network for Good  (  I then evaluated the mission statements and nonmonetary resources from each organization's public website to identify overlapping and unique resources for developing a training policy.  Based on the information collected, I will show how the resources of all organizations can contribute to implementing a collaborative training policy.