AAFP Report: Increase Primary Care Compensation to Combat Physician Shortage

The American Academy of Family Physicians recently released a report, submitted to the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Health, offering suggestions on how to increase the number of primary care physicians and meet the increasing demand for healthcare.

According to the report, the best way to increase the number of primary care physicians is to increase their income. "Fee-for-service payment for physician services is biased in favor of hospital-based and procedural services and does not provide appropriate incentives for the practice of primary care, or to increase the supply of primary care physicians," the report states.

Specifically, the AAFP suggested the average income of primary care physicians must achieve at least 70 percent of the median income of other physicians. According to the AAFP, the average is about 50 percent. The report also includes steps for Congress and CMS to take to achieve this level of compensation.

The AAFP report also includes suggested steps for medical schools and academic health centers to take to help increase the number of primary care physicians. The following are some of the suggested steps:

•    Increase and sustain involvement of primary care physicians through all levels of medical training
•    Support student primary care interest groups
•    Recruit, develop and support community physician faculty members
•    Require student participation in rural or underserved communities

More Articles on the Physician Shortage:

Mayo Primary Care Clinic Falls Victim to Physician Shortage, Will Close
Health Reform in 2013: What's Happened, What's Left & What it Means for Providers
Senate Hearing Diagnoses Primary Care Access Crisis

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