11-18-11: Providing Primary Care

November 18, 2011 at 7:55 am 2 comments

[audio http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wypr/local-wypr-994294.mp3]

By 2020, hundreds of thousands more Marylanders are expected to have health insurance than have it now – a third of a million more.  That’s assuming the federal health care law goes into effect as scheduled.  But, even if all these people are ready to receive health care, there may not be someone there to provide it:  Fewer than 2% of medical students go into primary care.  The main reason they cite is low compensation.

Last week, the state announced a plan to expand the primary care workforce in Maryland by 25 percent.

Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown painted a rosy vision of the future, stating “The more high quality jobs we can create in Maryland, the more we’ll be able to strengthen the middle class, and the more we’ll be able to strengthen our communities.  We’ll build strong communities in which health care will be available to more of our neighbors than ever before.”

Among the tactics the plan laid out: increasing compensation and creating more opportunities for nurse-practitioners and physician assistants to train.

We wanted to figure out who can help to provide primary care in Maryland—and how can the state keep them in those jobs.

Sheilah talks about it with Susan Delean-Botkin, a nurse practitioner who runs a private practice in Easton.  She’s also president of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland.

David Hexter a doctor of emergency medicine in Baltimore, is on the board of the state medical society, Med Chi.

We also want to thank Marcus Rosano at Montgomery College for providing audio of the press conference where the new initiative was announced.

For more background on why MD has a shortage of primary MDs, check out this 2010 segment.


Entry filed under: Health, On Air, Policy.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Garrett  |  November 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

    “Free” healthcare exists only in the mind of those who believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

  • 2. Faith Friedman  |  November 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    There is definitely a shortage of primary care physicians, and nurse practitioners can definitely help the situation. I missed the beginning of the segment, but object to the guest’s comments validating many medical school graduates’ decision not to go into primary care. My daughter is currently a med student who plans to go into community medicine. I am very happy with this decision, as so many people are in need of good medical care. I am not one of those parents your guest mentioned who would, of course, not want a child to go into such a low-paying field after the expense of college, etc. First, I do not see a liberal arts and postgraduate education merely as a vehicle to go on and earn a high salary. Second, I feel that people who are mainly interested in earning high salaries should not be taking up spots in medical school; they should go into business. Third, internists serve a very important and much-needed role, that of diagnostician. Most of their work is not treating earaches and sore throats, as alluded to on your show.


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