Obama health reform and primary care physician shortage

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With millions newly insured patients becoming reality, shortage of primary care physicians is going to grow. Currently demand for primary care doctors varies depending on location. Most big cities with two or more medical schools are served well. However, everything outside of the outer city loop is usually underserved.

Large cities with one or no medical schools are already experiencing physician shortage. Physician shortage has been expected based on current number of medical school spots, which is further constrained by a number of residency positions. Currently about 45% of primary care positions get filled by International Medical Graduates. There are many more IMGs ready and willing to fill the gaps, however, there is not enough residency spots to train them.

Finally, a first real step in this direction is taken:

A new Primary Care Residency Expansion grant has been announced in June. All ACGME accredited primary care programs (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics) can apply for the grant to increase number of positions. http://enews.ama-assn.org/t/1312309/14046890/79531/0/

What does this mean for IMGs? Hopefully there will be an increase in number of primary care spots in the year 2012. There may be some increase in 2011, but this is less certain.

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