Physicians' group offers recommendations for role under health reform

A group representing physicians has come out with its own package of changes it says would be best for patients--and of course, themselves--under health reform.  The recommendations come from a report by the Physicians Foundation, which looks at how various methods for restructuring the health system might affect demand for doctors and the functioning of their practices.

The conclusions in the report, which was written by a group of academics, largely aren't anything you haven't heard before, but they're still worth noting. The researchers' recommendations include the following:

* Expand the physician workforce by building up medical school infrastructure and residency positions. They'd like to see Medicare's caps on support for residencies removed.

* To free up existing physicians, build out the corps of midlevel practitioners that can supplement the physician workforce, such as nurse practitioners and PAs, along with support staffers like nurses, aides and technicians.

* Build broad, front-line primary-care systems.

* Focus physician training on two key areas: a) medical/surgical specialties where physicians are uniquely qualified to provide care and b) helping generalists to manage chronic illness and multisystem diseases.

* Shorten the length of medical education from premed training through residency.

Given that there's a broad consensus on these issues already, it's hard to imagine that this report will meet with much resistance. That being said, it never hurts to keep hammering away at a goal.

To learn more about the report:
- read this press release