The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new measures to address the growing physician workforce shortage. The AMA is pushing for public and private payers to increase the number of residency positions for new graduates. The new policies will also focus on attracting students from underserved areas into the medical profession, with the hope that they will return to their communities to provide needed care.
The AMA's announcement comes as a George Washington University (GWU) study is released, stating that medical schools are not producing enough primary care doctors to meet patient needs. The study noted that public medical schools were more likely than prestigious private schools to produce primary care physicians, since the public schools were more likely to advocate a "social mission" or community care mission. The study also notes that the primary care shortage is mainly rooted in the fact that medical school graduates with massive debt are more likely to choose research or specialty positions over a low-paying primary care profession.
The health reform plan sets aside $1.5 billion for primary care doctors interested in working in underserved areas. Hospitals are in support of efforts to boost the primary care field, fearing that their emergency rooms will be flooded with patients if they are unable to access primary care treatment.
The Baltimore Sun