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

icans -- which could have a negative impact on quality, access, and timeliness.

- Massachusetts' experience is a case in point of what can happen if coverage is expanded without expanding the primary care workforce. When health insurance coverage was recently expanded to nearly 95 percent of the state's residents, some low income residents reported difficulty finding a physician or getting an appointment. In fact, the wait to see primary care physicians in Massachusetts has reportedly grown to as long as 100 days.

ACP's recommendations are supported by the 126,000 member organization's new comprehensive evidence review, How is a Shortage of Primary Care Physicians Affecting the Quality and Cost of Medical Care? Using more than 100 studies, the paper notes that "even though decades of research tell us that primary care is the best medicine for better health care and lower costs, the current U.S. health care system fails to support policies and payment models to help primary care survive and grow."

A paper published by the ACP in the Annals of Internal Medicine that compared U.S. health care with care in other industrialized countries found that the best performing health care systems abroad, unlike the United States, are built on a strong foundation of primary care.

"A better health care system must result in everyone having health insurance coverage, and everyone having access to a primary care doctor. Anything less than that will fail to provide Americans with access to affordable, comprehensive and personal care they need and deserve," Dr. Harris said in concluding ACP's State of the Nation's Health Care briefing.


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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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