Physician shortages are being disproportionately felt in primary care, as fewer physicians practice office-based primary care and as more NPs and PAs work in specialty practices. Who will provide direst access care, how will they be trained and what will they be able to do?
The Academic Consortium for Alternative and Complementary Health Care has published a report on the current and prospective roles of doctors of chiropractic, naturopathic physicians, doctors and practitioners of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and direct-entry midwives in meeting nation’s primary care needs. In aggregate, there are about 100,000 practitioners in these fields (see below), most in chiropractic.
This new report, “Meeting the Nations Primary Care Needs,” offers an opportunity to learn what these professions are doing and to assess the extent to which they could participate in meeting some of the unmet needs in primary care. It is the best compendium of thoughtful analysis on these disciplines that currently exists. Are the authors correct? Is this a way to meet the nation’s needs? Comments from readers of this blog will be welcomed!