The lack of access to primary care doctors leads to worse health outcomes and higher costs, according to an American College of Physicians report released in November and aimed at influencing the shape of impending health system reform. As the population ages and demands on health services increase, Americans will find it more difficult to locate primary care physicians to help coordinate care in a fragmented system.
The 63-page ACP white paper reviews more than 100 studies from the last 20 years and concludes that the proportion of primary care doctors in a community is related to population health outcomes and system costs. The number of U.S. medical graduates entering residences in family medicine and internal medicine has dropped by half in the last decade as physicians pursue less time-squeezed and higher-paying specialties, the ACP report said.
The report comes amid signs from Capitol Hill that politicians are taking the work force shortage seriously.
The whole shebang.