As more Americans become insured under the health care reform plan, the need for primary care doctors is going to become substantial.  This week in Washington there is a meeting going on to figure out how to deal with the increasing need for primary care doctors and the decreasing number of medical students going into primary care.  Leslie Kane, a blogger on Medscape.com, addresses two of the changes being currently discussed in her recent blog post.  They are:

1. Increase the 10% primary care bonus currently called for in the health care reform act – a 10% bonus is nice, but it is doubtful that it will be enough to draw students away from more lucrative specialities.  10% more for primary care doctors still cannot hold a candle to what some specialists make, and the hours are longer and the work more grueling in many cases.

2.  Pay much more money for more complex care – primary care doctors should focus on more difficult procedures and cases and get paid more for handling those while nurse practitioners and physicians assistants could deal with the more day-to-day situations that take up so much of a PCP’s time.

So what do you think of these suggestions?  Are they financially or professionally feasible?  How do you think patients would react to seeing their doctor only for more serious cases and dealing with a nurse practitioner the rest of the time?  We will have to wait and see what comes out of this current meeting and what changes might be in store for primary medicine.

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