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Internists ask President-elect Obama to include aid for primary care in stimulus proposal
Date:12/17/2008

care physicians that are leaving practice. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that only two percent of fourth year medical students plan to practice in primary care internal medicine.

Earlier this month, ACP released an annotated review of more than 100 studies that show that primary care is consistently associated with dramatically lower rates of preventable hospital and emergency room visits, overall lower rates of utilization of all kinds, fewer premature deaths, and longer life spans.

"The primary care shortage is occurring despite the overwhelming evidence that primary care is consistently associated with better outcomes at lower cost," Dr. Harris continued. "The loss of even one primary care practice in a community during these tough economic times will put thousands of patients in the impossible situation of trying to find a new primary care physician, when most of the surviving primary care practices already are at full capacity and unable to take on any new patients."

Dr. Harris also urged that the stimulus plan include financial help and access to health insurance for individuals who are at risk of losing their health insurance during the economic downturn. He also called for a temporary increase in federal matching funds to states for Medicaid and SCHIP to be used to maintain current levels of Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment and benefits. "Such measures are necessary first steps toward comprehensive reforms to expand and guarantee affordable health coverage to all," noted Dr. Harris.

He concluded his letter to Senator Daschle by saying: "We believe the stimulus package provides an excellent opportunity to begin this process by helping individuals who may lose their coverage during the economic downturn, stabilizing the primary care workforce by providing targeted payment increases, and providing help to smaller primary care practices in obtaining the health information systems needed to function a
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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