Skip to main content
Related Topic: Health

Easily browse the critical components of this report…

Key Takeaways

Workforce Shortages By The Numbers:

  • Direct Care: By 2026, the U.S. health care workforce is expected to have a shortage of about 3.2 million direct care professionals including medical assistants, home health aides and nursing assistants.
  • Registered Nurses: Between 2020 and 2021, more than 100,000 registered nurses (RNs) left the workforce, the largest exodus in at least 40 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 203,300 vacant RN jobs through 2031 amid professionals leaving the workforce and overall growth in the profession.
  • Primary Care: According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2034 there will be a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians across both primary and specialty care. Some researchers expect nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) will be able to fill some, but not all, of these gaps in care, especially within the primary care sector.
  • Maternal and Child Health: 2 million women of childbearing age live in areas with no hospitals offering obstetric care, obstetric providers or birthing centers. The maternal and child health workforce expects continuing shortages of family medicine physicians, general internal medicine physicians and OBGYNs but slight surpluses of nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
  • Behavioral Health: By 2026, 27 states are expected to have a combined shortage of at least 55,000 behavioral health professionals, while the other 23 states are expected to build a surplus of these professionals in the same time frame.


  • Contact NCSL

  • For more information on this topic, use this form to reach NCSL staff.

Related Resources

Medicaid Managed Care 101

Medicaid managed care is how the majority of Medicaid beneficiaries receive coverage. This brief introduces Medicaid managed care, including how it works, how it has changed over time, evidence on its effectiveness, and more recent policy trends in what and who is covered by Medicaid managed care.

Value-Based Care in the States

This four-part series will introduce value-based care concepts and provide state strategies and examples to adopt value-based care in the Medicaid program, in the commercial market, and in multi-payer arrangements, and more.