The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently projected that cardiothoracic surgery will have the largest projected shortfall of any physician specialty evaluated by 2035. HRSA expects 900 cardiothoracic surgeons will retire while total demand during the same time period will increase by 20 percent. The result will be a projected 31 percent shortfall of surgeons within the specialty. STS is working diligently to reverse this trend by highlighting this challenge to policymakers and advocating for common sense solutions to alleviate this shortage.  


  • Invest in Training Cardiothoracic Surgeons: Support raising the cap on Medicare-supported residency positions and providing deferred loan repayment and targeted forgiveness for surgeons in training.  
  • End Physician Non-Compete Agreements: Advocate for ending non-compete agreements that create artificial barriers for employed physicians.  
  • Diversify the Workforce: Invest in programs designed to support under-represented populations to build and diversify the physician and cardiothoracic workforce.    
  • Advocate for Broader Health Care Workforce Solutions: Reduce instances where surgical procedures are postponed due to staffing shortages on the surgical team.     

Endorsed Legislation