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Call To Increase Family Physicians

typical ACGME-accredited family medicine residency will need to expand from an average of 21 residents to 24 residents. Overall, the new AAFP workforce policy calls for an approximate 39 percent increase in the number of family physicians to meet the health care needs of the American people.

The new study, unlike previous physician workforce studies, takes into account socioeconomic factors such as population growth, increased use of health information technology and increasing health risk factors of the country's aging population. The "Family Physician Workforce Reform" study is congruent with the recent American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) report, which calls for a 30 percent increase in the production of U.S. physicians. However, the AAFP's new policy specifically indicates what type of physicians the nation needs now and will need in the future.

The study also considered modern trends that significantly affect the number of physicians available to care for patients, including the fact that the number of internal medicine physicians practicing as generalists is decreasing. There also is a trend toward an increasing proportion of non-physician providers, such as physician's assistants and nurse practitioners limiting their practice to subspecialty areas.

"We know that a health care system based on primary care leads to better overall quality of care for patients, as well as more affordable health care services," said Perry Pugno, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.E., director of the AAFP's medical education division. "Because family physicians are trained to care for patients of all ages and conditions and in all environments, they are best equipped to meet the wide-range of health care needs in our country. Until the health care system places a greater value on family medicine and other primary care specialties, millions of Americans will struggle to obtain high-quality, affordable care."

In response to the study's findi
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