Work hours to affect primary care shortage

In the midst of a national physician shortage, researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that long or short work hours in certain specialities may affect primary care, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. For instance, they found that vascular surgeons work the most hours and pediatric emergency medicine physicians clock the least. Researchers suspect that the gap in primary care physicians will widen. "It is doubtful that medical students will want to enter primary care if there continues to be such a mismatch between hours worked and wages compared with other specialties," said J. Paul Leigh, professor of public health sciences and lead author of the study, in a UC Davis news brief. "Policymakers who make medical payment decisions should strive for better balance." As the nation struggles for more primary care physicians, patients (now with greater access to insurance) oftentimes end up flooding emergency departments and overwhelming the hospitals' resources. News Brief