His answer: More doctors.
Nelson (D-FL) introduced the "Opioid Workforce Act", which would create 1,000 new Medicare-supported positions at hospitals throughout the country.
The new doctors would be trained on addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry or pain management.
“I think there’s going to be a shortage of docs,” said Dr. Devanand Mangar, a chief anesthesiologist and board member at Tampa General Hospital. "I think because of the aging population and the more people living a lot longer there’s going to be a need for physicians to take care of patients.”
There could be a shortage of anywhere between 40,800 and 105,000 doctors by 2030, according the Association of American Medical Colleges.
"It's very important for people to get into the field," Mangar said. "Having been in Tampa General for a while, it's an academic institution and I have students that come from high school to follow me around and I groom them and teach them and encourage them to go into medicine because it’s one of the few professions that you get to take care of the human kind, the human soul and get them to a better place."
The key to addressing the anticipated doctor shortage is more federal funding for medical residents, Mangar said.
Nelson's proposal still has to go through a Senate committee, but if approved, it would allow eligible hospitals to add up to 25 full-time residency positions in their opioid-related medical residency programs, including three in Florida: the University of Florida School of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and the University of Miami.”