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Caring for aging population will require health care transformation

In the sea of America's diverse population, the rising tidewaters of baby boomers are creating a tsunami of health-care needs. The reverberations are already noticeable from too few specialty-trained physicians for diagnosing and treating complex problems of the elderly and growing shortages in the nurse workforce.

For every 10,000 people age 75 and older, just four geriatricians are available today, Herbert Sier, M.D., told attendees at the annual Association of Health Care Journalists' conference in Chicago. Sier is associate chief of geriatric medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, part of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Chicago's Northwestern University.

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