Family medicine makes a comeback in
this year’s Match
Similar to growth in the program’s recent years, the 2013 Match was the largest in history, according to the National Resident Matching Program. Of the over 40,000 nationwide applicants, 25,463 were matched into residency positions, filling 96.5 percent of all positions. Family medicine programs filled 2,938 out of 3,062 positions offered for a fill rate of 96 percent, 1.5 percent higher than the 2012 match. This year saw 298 more family medicine positions offered and 327 more filled than 2012.
While 39 more U.S. seniors chose family medicine this year than last, the percentage dropped from 8.5 percent in 2012 to 8.4 percent in 2013 due to 960 more U.S. seniors participating in the Match.
Despite this year’s higher number of overall students matched into family medicine residency positions compared to the last few years, the specialty has yet to meet its peak of 3,293 positions filled in the 1998 Match. There has been growth in the number of positions offered since the 2,555 offered in 2009, which AAFP discusses in its 2013 Match Summary and Analysis.
AAFP attributes the increase in positions offered to several factors, including the creation of more residencies and the “All-in” policy. In 2012 alone, 18 new family medicine residencies were approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, generating more opportunities for medical students to be matched into residency slots. NRMP has also implemented the “All-in” policy, specifying that residencies participating in the 2013 Match are not allowed to sign applicants who could start between February and July outside of the Match.
According to AAFP, “this year’s increases in the number of new family medicine residencies and the number of U.S. medical school graduates entering family medicine is encouraging,” but not quite enough to meet the Council on Graduate Medical Education’s recommendation that 40 percent of the U.S. physician workforce be made up of primary care physicians.
Overall, the higher number of family medicine residencies and the number of U.S. seniors choosing family medicine are both positive signs for the future of a stable health care system; however, changes must be made to encourage more medical students to choose primary care.