The ACP Advocate Blog
by Bob Doherty
Friday, March 18, 2011
Irish (style) wit . . . and the 2011 IM match
Several readers of this blog answered yesterday’s call for limericks by penning some of their own. How about this one, from Dr. Daftary, on the attraction of concierge practices?
Poor Saint Paddy he must be a quaking,
At the direction Internal Medicine is taking,
Internists no more,
They head for the door,
For a course in concierge training.
Or this one, from Carol Dembe, on health care costs?
Spend less on healthcare, they all cry,
But. . . I want my MRI.
The healthcare share
Might be more fair
Like teamwork, with no "I."
Perusing the internet on my own, I found this one, which pretty much sums up how I feel about the partisan debate on health care:
Why does health care reform light a fuse
About what our citizens choose?
Can’t the Dems and the Reps
Agree to take steps
That will bring our great nation good news?
And here is a new one from me, on yesterday’s news that there has been an increase in medical students choosing internal medicine and family practice residencies:
More students have chosen primary care
Even though the pay isn’t fair.
But will this year’s match
Produce a big enough batch
To ensure that a doctor is there?
ACP said it was “cautiously optimistic” that “the increase in the number of U.S. medical students choosing internal medicine residencies in 2011 is a positive sign toward easing the primary care workforce shortage.” But ACP also pointed out that “the U.S. still has to overcome a generational shift that resulted in decreased numbers of students choosing primary care as a career. In 1985, 3,884 U.S. medical school graduates chose internal medicine residency programs. And the 18.9 percent of U.S. seniors that matched internal medicine in 2011 is the same percentage as 2007.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians attributed the gains for family medicine, at least in part, to “primary care [becoming] much more visible as a result of the discussion about improving our health care system . . . [as] “more people understand that if we’re to have high quality care at a controllable cost, we need to rebalance our system on a foundation of primary medical care.”
Kevin Pho, the internist-author of the highly respected KevinMD blog, takes a more contrarian view, blogging that “There’s a dire shortage of primary care doctors today. The 2011 Match doesn’t lead me to believe that there will be a substantial change in that trend going forward.”
Dr. Bob Centor, author of DB’s Medical rants, “begs to differ” with Kevin’s pessimistic assessment, writing that “the increases are significant, but not earth shattering” and “will likely continue.” Bob predicts that “As the number of US grads increases each year, students understand that the number of slots in radiology, anesthesiology, neurosurgery, dermatology, orthopedics, etc. will not increase. The numbers will send more US grads into internal medicine and family medicine . . . but unless we have more residency slots, we will not produce more family physicians or internists. We will have less IMGs, but the totals will not change.”
Today’s questions: What do you think—is the 2011 increase in the match rate for primary care (internal medicine, family medicine and pediatrics) a “positive step” toward easing the primary care shortage or no substantial change in the trend going forward? And why do you think more of this year’s medical student crop chose theses specialties?
About the Author
Bob Doherty is Senior Vice President, American College of Physicians Government Affairs and Public Policy; Author of the ACP Advocate Blog
Email Bob Doherty: TheACPAdvocateblog@acponline.org.Follow @BobDohertyACP
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