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ACP: State of America's health care is poor
Date:2/2/2009

hand-in-hand with coverage expansions. We need to act now to influence the career choices of medical students and physicians already in residency programs, and the retirement and career decisions of primary care physicians already in practice."

The ACP recommendations also call for: - Setting specific goals for increasing primary care, including policies to achieve them and measures to evaluate their success;

- Reforming primary care payment policies to achieve market competitiveness with other specialties, including immediate and sustained increases in Medicare fee-for-service payment;

- Expanding the Patient-Centered Medical Home, and

- Issuing an Executive Order by President Obama to assure that all federal agencies are working together to set primary care workforce goals and the policies necessary to achieve them.

ACP's briefing cited several examples of how patients will suffer if health care reform does not expand the primary care physician workforce capacity at the same time as coverage is expanded:

- For the newly insured, there will be long wait times to get an appointment with a primary care physician, if they are able to find one at all.

- In a growing number of communities, it may become impossible for people who do not currently have a relationship with a primary care physician to find an internist, family physician or pediatrician who is taking new patients. Not because established primary care physicians do not want to accept the newly-insured into their practices, but because they have no time left in an already over-scheduled day to take on any additional patients.

- Patients will have less time with their primary care doctor. Despite insurance coverage, without changes in the way care is provided, physicians may have to further decrease the time they currently spend with patients in order to try to accommodate increased demand for services associated with covering more Amer
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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