American College of Physicians endorses preserving patient access to Primary Care Act of 2009

May 20, 2009

Washington - The 128,000-member American College of Physicians (ACP) today endorsed the Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act of 2009 (H.R. 2350), introduced by Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA). "Primary care is the best medicine for better health and lower costs," ACP noted, "and this is the best medicine for curing the growing crisis in primary care."

Joseph W. Stubbs, MD, FACP, president of ACP, wrote Rep. Schwartz last week to congratulate her on her leadership on the critical issue. In his letter, Dr. Stubbs emphasized his own experience as a general internist practicing in a small Georgia town.

"I have been fortunate to experience the joy of working, in a collegial and collaborative fashion with nurse-practitioners, physician assistants, and other physicians on our health care team, to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients," Dr. Stubbs noted. "My own experience supports what the evidence also tells us: primary care is correlated with better health status, lower overall mortality, and longer life expectancy, and patients with primary care physicians have lower health care expenditures, as stated in the findings section of the bill."

"This bill addresses the critical shortage of primary care providers in America," said Congresswoman Schwartz. "Primary care is at the core of America's health care system, and without a sufficient number of doctors, nurses and others providing primary care, Americans face long wait times to see their doctors and health care providers, as well as other obstacles to quality care. The bill outlines a series of different measures designed to help support the field of primary care." The legislation: A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed how critical the situation is becoming. The JAMA survey results of 1,200 fourth-year medical students showed that only 2 percent plan to go into primary care internal medicine. In a similar survey in 1990, the figure was 9 percent.

"Regrettably too few young people are choosing careers in primary care medicine, and many established primary care physicians have left the field or are considering doing so in the near future," Dr. Stubbs told Rep. Schwartz. "As a result, the United States is facing a shortage of 45,000 or more primary care physicians."

"If new plans are not enacted to address the skyrocketing shortage of primary care providers, by 2025 America could face a catastrophic shortage of 46,000 primary care physicians," Rep. Schwartz emphasized. "This plan takes a wide ranging approach, including establishing scholarship and loan repayment programs; increasing Medicare reimbursements to primary care providers; eliminating copayment for preventive care services in Medicare; and several other initiatives."

The legislation will also increase the pipeline of primary care physicians and other providers by providing new scholarship and loan repayment programs for primary care service in critical shortage areas and facilities; creating a grant program to educate students about primary care careers; expanding Graduate Medical Education primary care residency positions, reducing barriers to training in office-based primary care; and authorizing higher funding levels for the Title VII health professions programs and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

"I was trained through the NHSC and can speak to the positive impact it has had on me and on my rural community," Dr. Stubbs said in conclusion.

"It is critical that comprehensive reforms to halt the crisis in access to primary care be included in any legislation to expand health insurance coverage," Dr. Stubbs said in agreeing with the Congresswoman. "Providing everyone with affordable coverage is essential, but coverage alone doesn't guarantee access if there aren't enough primary care physicians to take care of patients. And without primary care, the costs of covering everyone will be much higher and the outcomes much poorer."
-end-
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 128,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illness in adults.

American College of Physicians

Related Primary Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Continuity of English primary care has worsened with GP expansions
A new study published by the British Journal of General Practice has found that patients' abilities to see their preferred GP has fallen greater in English practices that have expanded, compared with those that stayed about the same size.

Primary care office-based vs telemedicine care visits during COVID-19 pandemic
This observational study quantified national changes in the volume, type and content of primary care delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with regard to office-based visits compared with telemedicine encounters.

Expenditures for primary care may affect how primary care is delivered
This study looks at trends in out-of-pocket and total visit expenditures for visits to primary care physicians.

Primary care clinicians drove increasing use of Medicare's chronic care management codes
To address the problem of care fragmentation for Medicare recipients with multiple chronic conditions, Medicare introduced Chronic Care Management (CCM) in 2015 to reimburse clinicians for care management and coordination.

Primary care at a crossroads: Experts call for change
Primary care providers have experienced a rise in responsibilities with little or no increase in the time they have to get it all done, or reduction in the number of patients assigned to them.

Primary care physicians during the COVID-19 epidemic
Scientists from the University of Geneva has analysed clinical data from more than 1,500 ambulatory patients tested for COVID-19.

The five phases of pandemic care for primary care
The authors present a roadmap for necessary primary care practice transformations to care for patients and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Women almost twice as likely to choose primary care as men
Analysis of osteopathic medical school survey data reveals women are 1.75 times more likely to choose primary care than men, according to a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

Read More: Primary Care News and Primary Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.