No Primary Care Doctors, No Reform
"Universal health care will be doomed if there are not enough primary care doctors." - Dr. Pauline W. Chen
While 50 years ago half of all physicians were in primary care, almost three-quarters are now specialists. The future implications are even more dismal. According to one study published last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association, as few as 2 percent of medical students are choosing to step away from the ROAD or from other similar "high prestige" and competitive specialties in order to pursue general internal medicine.
The statistic has the power to bring even the best efforts at reform and universal coverage to a grinding halt...The image of primary care remains one of a vaguely anachronistic practice - a group of doctors who do not stand on the forefront of creative change and who are continually left holding the biggest bag of administrative expectations and clinical care coordination and demands.
It's worth checking out Chen's blog, too. Share your thoughts in the comments below. You need to be a registered member of ReportingonHealth.org to leave a comment, so if you haven't joined yet, click here. It's easy, quick and free. You can follow ReportingonHealth on Twitter, too, @ReportingHealth.