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Study shows that increasing reimbursements won't solve physician shortage
07.18.2012Some parts of the U.S. are lacking when it comes to available medical professionals and supplies. However, a non-profit health advisory group discourages increasing Medicare reimbursements in impacted areas as a way to augment their physician recruitment.
"Some geographic pockets face persistent access and quality problems, and many of these pockets are in medically underserved rural and inner-city areas," reads the study by the Institute of Medicine for the National Academies.
It continues, "However, geographic adjustment of Medicare payment is not an appropriate approach" for fixing the problem.
Medicare proportionately compensates medical professionals practicing in areas that are difficult or expensive, and has been offering financial incentives to medical professionals to work in some of the deficient regions. The Institute of Medicine's research indicates that applying that initiative to more areas would lower reimbursements in places that already have enough attending physicians, emergency department physicians and other healthcare workers.
As for alternative solutions, the nonprofit recommends the application of more telemedicine-oriented methods, which help people in rural areas reach the physicians they need. They also advocated for altering laws so that nurses could legally perform more medical duties.
Then again, having more physicians around in general would also probably improve the shortage problems. Citing the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), a Forbes article states that 18 medical colleges are working on getting up and running. The AAMC president and chief executive told Forbes that even more new medical schools would pop up, if only state-funded institutions had the money.
"Medical schools have done their part, increasing enrollments during the last six years," continued Darrell Kirch. "But the supply of physicians cannot expand unless Congress increases the number of federally funded residency training positions."
Categories: Physician Recruitment
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