Monday, November 25, 2013

Trying to generate more primary docs

Barbara Sadick, WSJ, Nov 18, 2013, quotes a Harvard med student as saying the trend in medicine will be keeping patients healthy, rather than treating them after they get sick--so more primaries will be needed.

This comes as fewer doctors and other professionals are going into the family doctor business and demand is rising due to the health care mess.

The Assn of American Medical Colleges says we will be short 45,000 primaries by 2020.

Yet only 20% of grads go into primary medicine. The big money, if there is big money anymore, is in specialties.

To help with this, some med schools are adding community-based primary care training programs.

Seventeen new medical schools have opened since 2005. Some of these train only primary care docs.

Some medical schools and even hospitals make primary care sound crummy--like paper pushing.

Primaries do earn less.

Another focus could be to train primaries in the community rather than the academic area--meaning with a public health emphasis.

At Central Michigan Univ, 80% of the students grew up in remote or rural areas and much of the training takes place in such communities.

Still, better use will have to be made of nurse practitioners and physician assistants as primaries. I also see more doctors coming from overseas.

My primary is a physician assistant and he is much more suitable to me than any medical doctor I have had.

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