Primary Care No Longer Primary Medical Student Choice
Medical students aren’t lining up to become primary care physicians, as documented in a number of studies. Providing constructive feedback in response to Continuing Resolution (CR), H.R. 1, introduced in the House on February 11, J. Fred Ralston, president of the American College of Physicians wrote:
“The United States is facing a growing shortage of physicians in key specialties, most notably in general internal medicine and family medicine—the specialties that provide primary care to most adult and adolescent patients.”
If you’re a primary care physician, you likely agree with him that “investments in primary care are essential to achieving a highly performing, efficient and effective health care system.” Availability of primary care physicians in a community, he said, “is positively associated with better outcomes and lowers costs of care.” What’s good for the community isn’t proving so good for the physician. Students list reasons they won’t choose primary care as their career focus: lower salaries when compared to specialists, compromised quality of work life and frankly, less prestige.
For those who’ve already immersed themselves in primary care and can’t turn back the clock, decidedly more constructive options exist than chucking one’s career—among them, concierge medicine.