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Solving The Primary Care Crisis: Are We Training Enough Doctors?

In a few years, every American will be required to have health insurance. As a result, the 32 million people currently uninsured will seek out a personal physician. This role typically is filled by a primary care doctor, like an internist or a family physician.

While passage of the healthcare reform bill affirmed the belief that having health insurance is a right rather than a privilege, the legislation falls short on building a healthcare system capable of absorbing the newly insured.

Universal healthcare coverage is not the same as providing universal access to medical care. Having an insurance card doesn’t guarantee that individuals can actually get care. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

The New-Patient Fallout: How It Might Affect Primary Care

Sunset on Hanalei Bay by Alaska Dude via FlickrWith the prospect of 32 million new patients clamoring for care comes sorting out who will see them all. New medical schools are opening and students say they relish the idea of entering a market that will demand their services. American College of Physicians member Manoj Jain, M.D., offers a more tempered view of how the fallout might affect primary care. (AP, American Medical News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Even Hawaii has a shortage, especially in primary care, but also cardiology and orthopedic surgery. It’s hard to believe recruiters couldn’t sell Hawaii as a destination. (Honolulu Advertiser)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

When 32 Million New Patients Look For A Doctor

With the passage of healthcare reform, an estimated thirty two million new patients will try to find primary care doctors. That’s not going to be so easy because we already face a shortage of primary care doctors and about 13,000 more will be needed to take care of those newly eligible for insurance.
 
According to the American Medical Association, there are about 312,000 primary care doctors practicing in the United States. That includes family medicine, general practice (GP), internal medicine, and pediatrics. (In addition, there are 43,000 ob-gyn’s who also may serve as primary care doctors.) The estimate that another 13,000 will be needed comes from a study done by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

 

Sixty five million Americans already live in areas that don’t have enough primary care doctors. And relief is not on the way anytime soon. It takes 5 to 8 years for a first year medical student to be trained as a primary care doctor. And the trend for budding doctors over the past decade has been away from primary care and towards more lucrative specialties. Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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