Primary Care Doctors Need to Redefine Their Roles

We all know that effective, affordable primary health care needs to be the bedrock of our health care system.   Primary care medicine, however,  has evolved  into a very expansive and complex undertaking. Primary care physicians need to embrace this reality and define our roles accordingly, for the sake of effectiveness, affordability, and our own sanity and self respect.  AAP policy statements alone give us over 150 verbal directives we should be providing all our patients.  Our society cannot afford a system that pays experts with advanced degrees to explain car seat use.  We need to become clinical coordinators, managing a team of health care professionals, providing ongoing education and monitoring to this team, and being available to provide our own unique, expensive, and hard-earned expertise when needed.  Like it or not, the new Marcus Welby is – and needs to be – a nurse practitioner.  The next obvious question is who will pay for this.  That is why we need health care reform.

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