Excellent piece in Boston Magazine detailing the primary care crisis:
According to the MMS, in 2007 just 42 percent of patients were able to get an appointment with their primary care doc in the space of a week (down from 53 percent a year earlier). Those patients who didn’t already have regular doctors had it much harder. The average wait time for them was 52 days, and that was assuming they could find doctors who were willing to take them on at all: Half the primary care doctors surveyed weren’t accepting new patients.
Nothing new fact-wise to regular readers of this blog, but it’s encouraging to see more mainstream media outlets are catching on and trumpeting the ramifications of the problem.
I see this going two ways. One is that mid-levels and foreign-trained doctors will take over. The other is that primary care physicians will get paid more, bringing an influx of new doctors to the field.
The ultimate decision will come down to patients. No disrespect to my NP and PA colleagues, most of whom do an excellent job, but there is a segment of the population who simply want a physician for primary care. Will they be happy with a mid-level as their primary provider?
If so, then my days are numbered.
If not, it will be up to the patients to exert enough pressure to reform the payment system.