The Physician Workforce and Counting What Counts in Primary Care

Commentary
Publisher: Family Medicine, vol. 50, no. 8
Sep 01, 2018
Authors
Eugene C. Rich

The U.S. debate over the primary care workforce began in the 1960s with the collapse of medical student interest in general practice and the growth in specialty training. This led to the Millis Commission report on graduate medical education that identified the need for the “primary physician” to “serve as the primary medical resource and counselor to an individual or a family.” Nonetheless, even current workforce analyses reflect ongoing confusion regarding what primary care is, and which clinicians can provide it. This problem may contribute to conflicting assessments in several recent reports of the current and future workforce needs in primary care.