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Interesting article on family medicine

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by Adapt, Dec 17, 2003.

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  1. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 18, 2003

    " Although student interest in the different specialties has proven to be cyclical, some see this latest decline as reason for concern. AAFP President James C. Martin, M.D., FAAFP, has said that "this continuing decline in the number of future family physicians will be devastating to the health of the American people. Family doctors conduct almost 200 million office visits each year - that's 75 million more visits than any other medical specialty. Family physicians are the backbone of the American health system."

    "We are going to have much more of a need for family physicians as our ability to screen for disease gets better. With all the genetic tests that are coming out, there is going to be a huge need for primary care practices that cannot just take care of people with the diseases they already have but also screen people for the diseases they might get, and to help them avoid these conditions."
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  3. seattledoc

    seattledoc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2003
    I don't doubt that the demand for primary care will grow. I can't say the same for reimbursement. If you simply look at the demographics of our country, there will be more retirees and fewer workers, this will likely translate into lower reimbursement in general and particularily in primary care. Plenty of work, less cash to do it is my guess.
  4. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    Jul 31, 2000
    It's so difficult to predict these days. Just ~10 yrs ago, there was a huge push for more primary care providers with the managed care boom as it was thought that there was a shortage of primary care providers to work as gatekeepers in the system. Now the pendulum has swung the other way, and I think that part of the reason is ironically managed care companies. You just don't have time to work up or talk to patients as complicated problems anymore. I suspect that as our therapies and diagnostic continue to improve and become more complicated, medicine will become further and further subspecialized in the future so that you will see that most doctors will specialize in certain diseases, not just general specialties. But who knows, the "experts" were all wrong 10 yrs ago and 10 yrs before that, so I don't see any reason to believe that they are right this time.
  5. carrigallen

    carrigallen 16th centry dutch painter 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    If people are upset that primary care physicians are shrinking, why do they continue to elect reps who have repeatedly slashed medicare funding?
  6. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2002
    New York City
    I think a lot of the uncertainty over the number of FP's that will be needed has to do with the unexpected census results the past time around. Population growth was far more than anticipated, and I recall reading somewhere that the number of primary care docs estimated shifted accordingly.

    I imagine that more than any other specialty, FP needs to pretty closely track population, with a certain number of doctors per thousand, whileas with the more specialized disciplines it's not as important.

    My uninformed guess is that 2011 or 2012 will be a watershed for family practice and primary health care in generaly, one way or the other. If growth continues to outpace predictions, something will have to be done. The money will have to come from somewhere and it seems like FP's have already been knocked down as far as they can go before they're on salary par with PA's and NP's. I'd guess that the money's going to have to come out of pharm companies and specialists' compensation, which would certainly be good news for the much-abused FPs.

    What do you all think of the new prescription drug bill's major increase in funding to rural hospitals and physicians?

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