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Letter to the editor: Response to ‘Young doctors still pulled to specialties’

Unfortunately, the piece published by The Daily Record on March 24, “Young doctors still pulled to specialties,” plays a major, likely unintentional, role in the primary care provider shortage problem this nation faces.

Allow me to explain. At the same time the piece highlights the continued trend in medical schools where most students avoid primary care careers, it presents a somewhat reassuring, but ultimately false set of facts about the current primary care output of schools.

The term “primary care field” implies that most practitioners training in the said discipline will ultimately deliver primary care. So hearing that 47 percent of a class will be training in a primary care field doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Too bad less than 20 percent of the trainees in internal medicine, one of those “primary care fields,” end up actually going into primary care.

We need to start telling it like it is. In the same way I can’t fix a patient’s blood pressure without accurate readings, we can’t fix our primary care numbers if we continue to blatantly exaggerate the primary care output of med schools.

Andrew F. Morris-Singer

President and founder, Primary Care Progress