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Surgeon availability tied to survival rate in vehicle crashes
Date:3/27/2011

ta suggest that better access through trauma systems and an available supply of trauma surgeons are key factors affecting outcomes, and should be a priority for health care reform," said study co-author Raul Coimbra, MD, PhD, FACS, chief of the Division of Trauma at UC San Diego Health System and vice-chair of the American College of Surgeons' Committee on Trauma.

The current study provides an important point of view in an ongoing discussion about the role of surgeons in the health care system. The World Health Organization (WHO) added surgical care to its definition of primary care in 2008. However, in the United States, a narrow interpretation of primary care still persists. According to the researchers, the Affordable Care Act, passed on May 2010 as a part of healthcare reform, excluded surgery from primary care. Surgeons were not afforded the same financial incentives provided to traditional primary care providers, such as family and internal medicine practitioners.

Chang and colleagues also suggest possible ways to address the problems of uneven distribution and shortage of surgeons. Apart from attracting more physicians to surgical specialities and extensive training of new surgeons solutions that may require over a decade to implement they discuss the possibility of redistributing the available surgical manpower. Additionally, the researchers propose development of hierarchically organized groups of hospitals that would provide patients with different levels of care, inluding surgical and trauma-recovery systems.

"Implementing these ideas could significantly increase access to surgeons in underserved areas and allow more patients to survive and recover from serious injuries," said Chang. "It is important to realize that especially in low-resource areas like rural America surgery is at the intersection of medicine and public health."


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Contact: Debra Kain or Maja Gawronska
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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