Michigan part of national trend showing shortage of primary care physicians
The Michigan Academy of Family Physicians is sounding the alarm about a potential crisis in the health care industry. There is currently a shortage of family physicians, which they say has wide-reaching consequences.
Twenty percent of adults and eight percent of children in Michigan do not visit a primary care physician for routine care. That is according to the MAFP. This is not only an issue of health care access for patients, but a lack of availability of physicians. There is, on average, a differential in earning power between primary care and subspecialty care of about $100,000 per year.
Dr. Jean Wong is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan. She says, for many, it’s a simple economic decision.
“So, if you are talking to a medical student who is graduating with a couple hundred thousand dollars in medical school debt, they have pretty clear incentivization to subspecialize very quickly.”
Dr. Wong adds specialty care pays significantly more which is attractive to those with medical school debt. Loan repayment programs have been shown to be a way to curb the shift to specializing.
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