Primary Care

Primary Care– A National Resource that Needs Support

A primary care doctor, whether he or she be an internist, a family doctor or a geriatrician, is essential to care coordination for people with Medicare, especially those people who are older and frailer and have a number of health care needs. But the primary care doctor in America is disappearing and a crucial component of health reform must be a national program to nurture the primary care profession.

  • Currently, only 4% of medical students in the United States say they intend to be primary care doctors.
  • Over the last decade, according to the American College of Physicians, the number of U.S. medical school graduates who filled family practice residencies dropped by over 50% while those filling anesthesiology residencies grew by 150%.
  • Specialists, even those in specialties that have more doctors than needed, commonly earn two, three or even four times what the primary care doctor earns. And many primary care doctors work long hours that typically include evening, overnight and weekend call.

Our position

  • For a better health care system, America needs more primary care doctors. Incentives need to be created: higher, bundled compensation for doctors who provide high quality coordinated care in a medical home setting; tuition debt forgiveness for physicians who enter and stay in a primary care practice. And, in a nation whose health care system cries out for more primary care doctors, Medicare must lead the way in increasing the compensation for these professionals.

View the pending healthcare reform legislation.