Match Day a Reminder of Primary Care's Struggles
I've written several times in the last few years about this discrepancy and the problems it creates, as well as a range of possible solutions. CMS is working on redistributing reimbursement slightly from specialists to primary care doctors, and healthcare reform will include additional payment bonuses for PCPs. International medical graduates play a big role in filling the gap and keeping primary care afloat.
But these measures aren't going to reverse the trend overnight. To borrow an analogy, the healthcare system is an ocean liner, not a speedboat. Increasing reimbursement 10% or so is a change in the right direction, but the imbalance took years to build up and will probably take a while to correct.
Improving the system of primary care will require more than additional physicians. We need new models of care and better communication between doctors. New technologies and better use of nonphysicians will help.
A good indicator of progress each year will be the results of Match Day, and how many new physicians find it worthwhile to take the road less traveled.
Note: You can sign up to receive HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders, a free weekly e-newsletter that features the top physician business headlines of the week from leading news sources.
Elyas Bakhtiari is a freelance editor for HealthLeaders Media.
- Resisting the Healthcare Consolidation Frenzy
- Give Nurses in Wheelchairs a Chance
- 3 Better Ways to Market Bariatric Surgery
- HL20: George Halvorson—Expectations for Success
- Top 3 Health Plan Game Changers of 2013
- New G-Codes to Pay Doctors for Broad Array of Non-Face-to-Face Care
- AMCs React to Being Shut Out of Some Exchange Plans
- MGMA Urges 'End-to-End' ICD-10 Testing
- Q&A: Ardis Dee Hoven 'Optimistic' SGR Will Be Repealed
- MU Compliance Announcement Sparks Concern, Confusion