Right the “First” Time by Pat Conrad MD

A sentence like “For the 11th consecutive year, the family doctor was the most highly recruited doctor” should get the primary care types feeling a little better about themselves, right?  Of course the cynic might note that the quickest way to fix a shortage is to increase pay, the relative paucity which of being the best explanation as to why there is a shortage in the first place.  Sure the academics, medical extortion groups (AMA, AAFP, et al), and government overlords will all cluck about the increased need for primary care to keep costs do-, I mean to provide better “quality”, the increased population with ACA coverage, and they will all tuck their chins and ceiling gaze when someone points out the poor cash-to-hassle ratio in primary care.  You can’t spell “quality” without “EHR.”

But before FP’s feel too much love, they need to read the article headline:  Nurse Practitioner Demand Eclipses Doctors As States Lift Hurdles.”  Oh, so that’s’ how to fix the shortage.  The problem isn’t really a primary care doctor shortage, “as momentum builds behind legislation to eliminate hurdles for patients who need primary care.”  The American Association of Nurse Practitioners president thinks this is a great idea, as I’m sure would the American Association of Clinical Pharmacist Assistants president when its flu vaccine time.

Take a moment to run to the bar for a stiff belt, or to the bathroom for some Phenergan before this next paragraph:  “What’s more, the shift away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care and population health incorporates more nurse practitioners and physician assistants to work with doctors in a team-based approach. Insurers are rewarding medical care providers for getting healthcare done right the first time rather than basing pay on volume of care delivered.”

Value-based…population health…team-based approach…the author should get a cookie for incorporating all the right buzz-terms so efficiently.

Thank goodness that finally, at last, someone will be there to get health care right “the first time.”