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Commentary |

Does Having More Physicians Lead to Better Health System Performance?

David C. Goodman, MD, MS; Kevin Grumbach, MD
JAMA. 2008;299(3):335-337. doi:10.1001/jama.299.3.335.
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The US health system faces ongoing challenges in addressing its shortcomings in access and quality.1 Against a foreground of uneven and fragmented care lies a bleak background of unrelentingly accelerating costs. Although the problems of quality and costs are long-standing, several organizations have recently asserted that there is a new impending health care “tragedy”2: the physician workforce shortage. In contrast to the extensively documented problems of quality and affordability, the inference of a physician shortage rests on a less robust set of analyses. Assertions of a physician shortage warrant a critical examination because more physicians will compete for new resources against already well-documented health system needs.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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