Community Centers

Here is the headline that was put out:

Survey: Community Health Centers Need Many More FPs

Now what does that do?  Is anyone going to take the job because there is a need for docs?  The simple of formula of demand and supply works pretty well here.  In fact the article says:

That’s the stark conclusion of a new report from the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care titled “High Demand, Low Supply: Health Centers and the Recruitment of Family Physicians,” which was published in the Aug. 1 issue of American Family Physician.

Ok, we agree on that. They have a demand and the supply is short.  The question is what is the carrot to make docs work there?  They conveniently forget to mention this. But they do mention this:

“This highlights a need for policymakers to support federal programs that create incentives and provide community-based primary care training opportunities for medical students and residents to ensure an adequate supply of FPs to staff health centers and provide care to underserved populations.”

So would making it a training center for medical students and residents ensure doctors want to stay there.  No. I guess they are thinking that these groups would be enough for staffing?  Probably not.  The answer is paying family doctors a ton while also making the job tolerable.  Or, hear me out, how about encouraging more family doctors to go into direct primary care.  These offices are mostly community-based with doctors giving patients more time and attention.  Impossible?  Maybe you are thinking the patients can’t afford the $75 a month.  They can pay for other things but let’s assume for a moment that they won’t.  How about medical debit cards that they could use on DPC just like they do for food?  As long as DPC docs are not beholden to bogus government metrics than this could work. Just let the doctors worry about low overhead and the “caring for patient” part and the patient can just use the voucher monthly to pay.  There is the carrot.  It really can be that simple.

No other plan has worked.  Why not try?

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