Struggling Primary Care Physicians Could Undermine Affordable Care Act
<0> QuantiaMDRoss Homer, 1-617-219-6164Communications Manager </0>
26% of primary care physicians report poor financial health in the most recent . This financial instability, coupled with mounting professional challenges, and a dearth of incentives, are major factors driving new physicians away from primary care and into more lucrative subspecialties. This trend is especially worrying at a time when key aspects of the (ACA) rely heavily on primary care physicians for success.
QuantiaMD primary care physicians paint an alarming picture of their financial status. Some key findings from the 26% of physicians reporting poor financial health include:
These findings are particularly distressing in light of the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the ACA, which focuses on preventative services and continuity of care and relies on primary care-centric models such as the . Major provisions of the ACA may become effective as early as 2013 and will expand access to primary care for millions of new patients. With the possibility of 30 million currently uninsured Americans entering the system, it is estimated that over 60,000 new physicians will be needed.
For many primary care physicians, the motivation to remain in the profession is diminishing due to years of little to no increases in reimbursements that are not at all keeping pace with rising costs. Business operating expenditures and implementation fees for new technologies such as EMRs and CPOEs are crippling practices and leading many to question the long-term sustainability of the profession.
"The financial struggles of a number of primary care physicians is disturbing news," said Richard Roberts, MD, JD, President of the , Past President of the . "Even more concerning is that health reform depends on having more primary care doctors playing an even more important role in health care, through new models such as the Patient-Centered Medical Home. If financial challenges dissuade young physicians from entering careers in primary care or cause established primary care physicians to leave their practices, will there be enough primary care doctors for the influx of patients expected to enter the system?"
The Physician Wellbeing Index is presented as a monthly measurement of four pillars of wellbeing – physical, mental, financial and social health – allowing thousands of clinicians to monitor their wellbeing and compare it to their colleagues across the country. QuantiaMD then provides tailored educational content, expert advice, tools and services aimed at improving wellbeing within its .
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