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Call To Increase Family Physicians

ngs, the AAFP has identified a number of goals it plans to pursue to help reform the family physician workforce, including:

1. Encourage its 94,000 members to implement the TransforMED Model of Care, which includes the use of electronic health records, redesigned office space, open-access scheduling and overall care that centers on the patient;

2. Support efforts to ensure health care access for all Americans;

3. Actively lobby and advocate for increased payments to family physicians, which will attract medical students to the specialty and retain current family physicians;

4. Work with health insurance companies, as well as with the government, to encourage them to contribute to the costs of medical education;

5. Work with medical schools to attract the students who are most likely to select career paths and practice locations that will improve the current maldistribution of physicians;

6. Work with residency programs to better prepare family physicians to care for the evolving U.S. patient population – greater training on care of older adults, health disparities and the management of complex patients with chronic illnesses;

7. Help establish a public-private entity to allocate funding for graduate medical education; and

8. Advocate for preferential funding to residency programs that support diversity and produce those physicians most likely to practice in underserved communities in rural or inner-city areas.

The American Academy of Family Physicians last approved a workforce policy in September 1998. The 1998 policy offered recommendations based on a scenario of 50 percent family physicians among all physician generalists. That study concluded that accredited U.S. residency programs needed to produce 3,682 to 4,082 family physicians annually.

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