Here's a straightforward approach to attracting and keeping primary care doctors in your community. Bank of America has agreed to donate $5 million to boost the supply of Massachusetts-based primary care doctors, largely by paying off loans for medical students, residents and a handful of doctors already practicing in health centers. The idea is that if they serve in one of 23 community health centers or Boston Health Care for the Homeless, they'll be eligible to have $25,000 of their medical debt each year paid off, for a maximum of three years. (That's still only 60 percent of standard med school debt of $130,000, but it's a start.) The grant also includes $500,000 for Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, which will study how to attract more students to focus on primary care.
State officials hope the program will attract at least 50 new PCPs to the community health centers. If they do, it won't be a moment too soon; the health centers expect to see a flood of new patients once the state's health insurance coverage requirement kicks in in July.
To get more background on the program:
- read this piece from The Boston Globe