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Editorial |

Improving Accountability for the Public Investment in Health Profession Education:  It's Time to Try Health Workforce Planning

David C. Goodman, MD, MS
JAMA. 2008;300(10):1205-1207. doi:10.1001/jama.300.10.1205.
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There is widespread discontent with today's health workforce and its training pipeline. Patients cannot find primary care physicians who are accepting new patients and have difficulty navigating care that is fragmented over increasingly specialized clinicians. Some organizations warn that there will soon be a large gap in the number of physicians required to meet projected increases in patient utilization.1 Others point out that clinicians are ineffectively and inefficiently deployed across regions and predict that increases in the number of physicians will lead to an increase in expensive and marginally useful services that fail to improve health outcomes.2 The primary care workforce has been depleted by a shift of generalists to specialist, hospitalist, and emergency department services; little relief should be expected from the youngest physicians, who have a declining interest in primary care.3 Attention of workforce planners to the role of nonphysician clinicians is perfunctory even as the numbers and autonomy of nurses and physician assistants increase. Programs demonstrated to be highly effective in attracting physicians to care for underserved populations remain underfunded.4,5 Little progress has been made in improving racial and cultural diversity in clinicians, and many programs charged with doing so have been eliminated.6

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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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