Friday, February 27, 2009

Mayo clinic - Physician shortage, doctor shortage - Addressing The Gnawing Issue of Primary Care Shortages

I notice the Obama budget addresses the issue of dwindling numbers of primary care physicians by offering up to $330 million to expand repayment of education loans to to doctors, nurses, and dentists who agree to practice in medically underserved areas.

To which, I say,

Get real. Medical students will not enter primary care in greater numbers until they perceive they will receive the same pay, prestige, work hours, and choice of desirable practice locations as their classmates who choose to go into specialties. Loan repayments to primary care for serving in doctor-short areas will simply not cut it. The time has come, as the Walrus might have said in Alice in Wonderland, to talk of other things.

1 comment:

PookieMD said...

Exactly. It's not the pay that has driven physicians from primary care, it's lack of job satisfaction. When primary care physicians are not "providers" or "gatekeepers" or "medical homes" and are valued specialists, young doctors will return to primary care, but not until then. The last of my friends from residency in internal medicine has converted his practice to concierge because he actually wants to spend more than 15 minutes with his patients. (Imagine!) Until things change, internal medicine will become a spring board for training specialists, and internists will cease doing primary care.