Wednesday, February 01, 2006

U.S. primary care near collapse, physicians warn

An alarming thought from the American College of Physicians. The report released January 30, entitled: The Impending Collapse of Primary Care Medicine and Its Implications for the State of the Nation’s Health Care, should be a concern to everyone looking for primary care for themselves or their clients.

The accompanying proposal guidelines: The Advanced Medical Home: A Patient-Centered, Physician-Guided Model of Health Care are also found on the same page.

For the population of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) the push has been on for several years to encourage "Medical Homes" and care for these complex children in the community, and in theory, this would be the best way to care for them. But I know in practice it is already hard to find primary care pediatricians for some of my clients (since everything depends on the almighty HMO or MCO). I imagine all of them leaving pediatric care at 21 to enter into adult primary care and increase the problems of an already crashing medical care system.

I have to tip my hat at the struggling primary care docs (and advanced practice nurses, too, who are doing a lot of this primary care in my area). When my little clients have a good PCP, their quality of life is markedly improved. Here's my prayer for a solution and my hope we can avert the looming crisis.



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