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US experiencing primary care shortage 'likes of which we have not seen'
Date:3/24/2009

itiatives:

  • Fund programs to cover the costs of medical education for students who agree to pursue careers in primary care and subsequently practice in areas of the nation with greatest need;

  • Reform Medicare payment policies. The career choices of medical students and young physicians should be largely unaffected by considerations of differences in earnings expectations, yet Medicare payment policies systematically undervalue the comprehensive, longitudinal, preventive and coordinated care that is the hallmark of primary care;

Currently, the average primary care physician earns approximately 55 percent of the average earnings for all other non-primary care physician specialties.

Studies show that this compensation gap is among the most significant reasons for the growing shortage of primary care physicians.

"Although it may appear to some that our call to increase Medicare payments to primary care is self-serving," Dr. Harris pointed out, "the fact is that almost half of ACP's membership practice in subspecialties, not general internal medicine. Yet they share our belief that having a sufficient primary care workforce is essential if patients are to have access to high quality, effective and affordable care."

  • Align incentives for accountable, coordinated and patient-centered care, including continued expansion of the Patient-Centered Medical Home as a payment model. The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a High Performing Health Care System recently issued a report that advocates that the federal government "strengthen and reinforce patient-centered primary care through enhanced payment of primary care services and changing the way we pay for primary care to encourage the adoption of the medical home model to ensure better access, coordination, chronic care management, and disease prevention." The report estimates that widespread implementation of the medical home model would reduce na
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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