The MedPAC Squeeze: What’s at Stake for Rural America

Here’s what Tim Skinner, Executive Director of the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3RNet), has to say about MedPAC, the agency that advises Congress on Medicare. MedPAC fully embraces the Dartmouth line that “more is less” (more physicians produce poorer quality), and it has failed to promote greater support for graduate medical education (residency programs), which is the only source of new physicians in America.

 

Tim Skinner: “The MedPAC crew really has put the screws to this country. Everyone loses, but rural areas remain solidly behind.”

 

Rural America is hurting.  It’s difficult to recruit primary care physicians and almost impossible to recruit general surgeons. And the problems stretch beyond medical care to the economic stability of rural towns.

 

Gerald Doeksen estimates that one rural physician generates 17 additional jobs and $350,000 in additional economic activity annually through ambulatory care services alone.  General surgeons have still more impact — between $1.0 and 2.4 million annually. And even more, the financial viability of rural hospitals, commonly the largest employer, often depends on their ability to provide surgical services.

 

So it’s not hard to see why Skinner is worried. You should be, too.

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