Primary care shortage looms
An article by Toni J. Brayer in ACP Internist warns that without more primary care physicians, health care reform is doomed to failure. A couple of excerpts:
It is the primary care specialties who manage 80% of all health care needs of our population and who keep costs under control by knowing the patient and providing continuity and preventive care. As they retire or close their practices to new patients, there are no young physicians to take their place.
Young physicians in training are turned off by the enormous unsatisfying paperwork and difficult practice environment of primary care. Our reimbursement system has disadvantaged these physicians for years and they are at the bottom end of the income scale, despite the fact that they are the basis for a healthy population.
If current trends continue, the United States may face a shortage of 44,000 primary care physicians by 2025.