Medical School Enrollment Forecast Tempered by Residency Concerns

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , May 6, 2013

Even with the challenges of funding and little support from Washington, D.C., Mitchell says medical schools are encouraging students to gravitate towards primary care, especially in this new era of payment and care delivery reforms.

"If you look at the payment changes that were made under the Affordable Care Act, even Medicare has realized that they are not paying primary care adequately so they are saying 'we value primary care and we need to put our money where our mouth is,'" Mitchell says.

"The [PPACA] has started that process and there is going to be an ongoing look at how they can insure that primary care physicians are being reimbursed fairly."

"The other thing is that we have this new evolving delivery system that emphasizes accountability. You have an accountable care organization or a patient-centered medical home," she says. "Primary care physicians have the opportunity to be not just leaders in this new model of delivering care but ultimately they are at the center of that delivery system."

"You do see a growing interest among medical students in a primary care career because they view it as a new role and purpose and a new stature associated with these new delivery models and that is improving the attractiveness of the primary care career. But you also have to remember that the new generation of physicians is also looking carefully to ensure their work and personal life are in balance and a primary care career can challenge that balance. It's money and personal perspectives and professional evolution all in play."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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