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Fixin' Healthcare

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - A Doctor In Every Pot

Funny thing about projecting future needs as a straight line extension of the present. The only sure result is more of the same. Remember the 1960's and 1970's when the projected need indicated more physicians would solve the problems of health? Opps!

Presently, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) is calling for a 30% increase in the number of physicians and U.S. medical school enrollment in 2006 increased 2.2 percent over the last year. Are they correct in their assumptions? If they are, society is headed for a lot of sickness. Let's hope something changes in this equation to avoid sickness and achieve a better state of health. Will more physicians accomplish that?

The American Academy of Family Physicians has its own report calling for 39 percent increase in Family Physicians. This might be more justified than a 30 percent increase of all physicians but only if family physicians are better trained to practice health risk analysis and management. And, that practice needs to be on a higher plane than sick care.

It is good to know that the American Medical Student Association supports the American Academy of Family Physicians in their call for 39 percent increase in the number of family physicians. Goes to show the students are learning their politics.

A better use of resources would be to redefine primary health care with the goal of achieving optimum health status throughout communities. This might create need for additional primary care pracitioners but they would be of various types and function throughout the community as team members of an integrated health care system. The total number of physicians would decrease in accordance with less need for highly trained specialists to deliver sick care.

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