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Medical Home Won't Save Family Medicine Specialty

Posted Sep 03 2009 11:26am
My letter to the editor was published in the May 15, 2009, issue of Family Practice News. Essentially, all of the buzz about the Patient-Centered Medical Home as being the solution to improving the lives of primary care including the specialty of family medicine is just that. It is just buzz.

Like most letters to the editor, the publication chooses the title. Incidentially, Dr. Ted Epperly is the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Family Medicine Is Losing Ground

While I would like to share Dr. Ted Epperly's optimism that the patient-centered medical home is gaining traction, the hard reality is that U.S. medical graduates are not convinced.

While this model has gained momentum among employer groups, insurers, and legislators, medical schools and family medicine residency programs have yet to adopt it.

As a result, students are still exposed to the increasingly demanding, busy family medicine practice with administrative hassles, financial pressures, and paper-based system with the potential for errors.

The promise of the patient-centered medical home is not their reality. They are too smart to base a career choice on an idea that they haven't experienced firsthand.

Without rapid change in the educational curriculum, the number of new graduates will simply decrease as more practicing family physicians leave medicine. I'm worried that our specialty will simply disappear.

Davis Liu, M.D.
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