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Article |

Physicians and Health Policy

Peter E. Dans, MD
JAMA. 1980;243(14):1451-1453. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300400035026.
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HEALTH policy involves decisions on the allocation of manpower, services, and finances to meet patient care, education, and research needs. Physicians venturing into policy analysis are not usually conversant with these issues, nor are they familiar with the workings of the governmental bodies and other organizations responsible for health policy formulation. It seems to be assumed that if one is a first-rate researcher or clinician, the transition will be an easy one. Too often, this assumption is erroneous.

Moreover, administration and policymaking generally are held in low esteem by both practicing and academic physicians. These activities require a partial or complete withdrawal from the one-on-one patient setting and involve concerns with systems and aggregate decision making. Physicians taking on such responsibilities are viewed as rejecting the raison d'être of medicine and becoming politicians. This position may have been credible once, "but the times, they are a-changin'." All physicians must have


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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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