Public Health and Primary CareCommentary

Medicare Reform and Primary Care Concerns for Future Physicians

Charles H. Mitchell, OMS IV, and Robert J. Spinelli, DBA, MPH
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: August 16, 2012

Accepted: February 5, 2013

Published: October 1, 2013

J Osteopath Med; 113(10): 776-787

The widening income gap between specialists and primary care physicians (PCPs) has spurred many physician associations to reform the current Resource-Based Relative Value Scale fee schedule and sustainable growth rate expenditure target system. Hoping to better represent primary care, the American Association of Family Physicians formed a task force in 2011 to suggest supplements to the Relative Value Update Committee’s procedural code recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition, the predicted shortage of PCPs has caused many medical schools to increase class sizes; the scarcity of PCPs has also spurred the founding of new medical schools. Such measures, however, have not been met with more residency program sites or graduate medical education funding. The present article highlights major Medicare reform strategies and explores several issues affecting the field of primary care, including reimbursement, representation, and residency training.

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