Stethoscope and EKJ

Like the rest of the United States, California is currently experiencing a deficit in primary care physicians. This shortage is expected to worsen with the influx of new patients covered by the Affordable Care Act. In response, some universities like UC Davis are offering accelerated three-year medical school options instead of the traditional four. We’ll discuss why more schools are adopting this track and what it means for students and patients.

Dr. Tonya Fancher, associate professor at UC Davis School of Medicine, director of Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC)
Mark Henderson, associate dean for admissions and outreach and vice chair and residency program director at UC Davis Health System

  • Lance

    Isn’t the problem of supply of primary care availability is due to the primary care pay compensation vs specialty pay compensation?

  • Jinthebay

    How is the admissions process changing for a program like this? The MCAT is changing will this also help the increase the pool of students interested in primary care?

  • Marilyn Margulius

    Been listening, but not from the beginning. It seems to me that everyone is avoiding talking about the real reason for the predicted shortage or primary care and geriatric specialest looming in the immediate future. The reason is that they will make less money than physicians in other specialties and less money than surgeons. What is the main problem with our schools? The answer is not paying good teachers enough money. Why can’t we insist on righting this same wrong in the medical profession? Who is speaking up about this? Who has the power to do something about it? Are they being enlisted?

    • $2870056

      One of the only paths for good teachers to earn more is to become . . . a principal or administrator (not teach).

      And so it is with medicine. A specialist becomes an totally inadequate practitioner for most medical problems most people have. Far too many specialist and far too many routine problems defined or given over to specialists.

      When personal profit and choice drive a profession (teaching or medicine) AND the major workforce in the profession is underpaid and under-valued, then you get a dysfunctional system. It meets some individuals needs (of the profession), but not the needs of society.

  • $2870056

    Other developed places with outstanding medical care (Canada, England, Australia, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Japan, etc) have had very strong and adequate primary care training and care for decades. Doctors spend much less time training, are paid well, and do more than an adequate job for the general population in those places.

    America has a model of serving the profession of medicine and those at the “top” of the profession and its specialists.

    This was pointed out long ago in: The Post-Physician Era: Medicine in the Twenty-First Century, by Maxmen, J.S. (M.D.) 1976, Wiley Publisher.

    Organized medicine in America has gone out of its way to avoid any of the changes outlined in Dr. Maxmen’s book.

    I read it in 1979, became a PA, practiced in California for two decades, had a very satisfying career (work, pay, benefits to my community and myself) with just four years of college (12 years of prior work in healthcare) and just two additional years of medical training by and with physicians in a PA program. I practiced in primary care, cardiology, nephrology and neurology with a great deal of autonomy and at half the cost of a physician who was doing the exact same things.

    American medical training and care? “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

  • Irene Tanzman

    The accelerated program ought to help somewhat. However, to beat this shortage, we probably need to mobilize and entice young people to consider primary care medicine as a career. We also need to have more grants and scholarships for medical school AND we need to pay primary care physicians more money. In addition, we need to entice young people to consider becoming physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and patient centered medical home care coordinators within primary care.

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