One-Pagers offer succinct summaries of research pertinent to family medicine advocacy. These documents are distributed to congressional staff, AAFP leaders and staff, other family medicine leaders and chapter executives. One-Pagers are published in American Family Physician (AFP). We provide the complete text of each One-Pager and the AFP citation.
Trends in physician supply and population growth - April 2013
The physician workforce has steadily grown faster than the U.S. population over the past 30 years, context that is often absent in conversations anticipating physician scarcity. Policy makers addressing future physician shortages should also direct resources to ensure specialty and geographic distribution that best serves population health.
Is NIH Research Funding to Medical Schools Associated With More Family Medicine? - February 2013
National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to family medicine departments is very low and has an inverse association with the production of family physicians at these medical schools. Clinical and Translational Science Awards and other efforts to include primary care in NIH research priorities should be considered to increase the family medicine workforce.
Health Care Transition - December 2012
Youth with special health care needs who receive care within a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) are significantly more likely to receive services for transitioning to adult care.
Improving America's Health Requires Community-Level Solutions: Folsom Revisited - August 2012
Amidst sweeping changes to health care in the 1960s, the broadly influential Folsom Commission report, “Health is a Community Affair,” never fully achieved its vision of galvanizing the creation of Communities of Solution, which were empowered to improve health at the local level. Passage of health care reform, and persistent concern over poor health outcomes despite runaway spending, contemporizes Folsom’s call for nationally supported and evaluated, but community-driven, solutions to the nation’s health care challenges.
Refocusing Geriatricians’ Role in Training to Improve Care for Older Adults - January 2012
The current number of geriatricians cannot keep up with the health care needs of the growing number of older adults. To fill the gap, more geriatricians should focus on training primary care and other specialty physicians to care for older adults.
Comprehensive medical school rural programs produce rural family physicians - December 2011
Health insurance expansion expected from the Affordable Care Act is likely to exacerbate the long-standing and critical shortage of rural and primary care physicians over the next decade. Comprehensive medical school rural programs, from which most graduates ultimately enter primary care disciplines and serve rural areas, offer policy makers an interesting potential solution.
EHR implementation without meaningful use can lead to worse health outcomes - December 2011
Defying expectations, typical electronic health record (EHR) use in practices belonging to a primary care network has been associated with poorer diabetes care quality and outcomes. Current expansion of primary care EHR implementation must focus on use that improves care.
Better integration of mental health care improves depression screening and treatment in primary care - November 2011
Improving screening and treatment for depression in primary care will require better mental health care integration. Depression is common in primary care, yet screening for the condition remains low. Enhanced, coordinated financial support for the integration of mental health care into primary care could improve identification and treatment of depression.
FPs lower hospital readmission rates and costs - May 2011
Hospital readmission after discharge is often a costly failing of the U.S. health care system to adequately manage patients who are ill. Increasing the number of family physicians (FPs) is associated with significant reductions in hospital readmissions and substantial cost savings.
Income disparities shape medical student specialty choice - September 2010
Currently, a gap of more than $135,000 separates the median annual subspecialist income from that of a primary care physician, yielding a $3.5 million difference in expected income over a lifetime. These income disparities dissuade medical students from selecting primary care and should be addressed to ensure sufficient patient access to primary care.
Loss of primary care residency positions amidst growth in other specialties - July 2010
Since the 1997 Balanced Budget Act capped funding for graduate medical education (GME) programs, overall growth in GME has continued (+7.8 percent), but primary care specialties have experienced a substantial decline in their number of programs and residency positions. This decline will further exacerbate the current primary care shortage and severely affect future projections of primary care shortage.
Greater family medicine presence at NIH could improve research relevance and reach - May 2010
Advisory committees perform pivotal tasks at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), informing funding decisions, helping establish research priorities, and contributing to the vision for the nation's biomedical research agenda. Family medicine has not had a substantial role on these committees, but could, helping the NIH make research more patient centered and informing translational efforts to improve population health.
Greater NIH investment in Family Medicine would help both achieve their missions - March 2010
Family medicine is the predominant provider of primary health care in the United States, yet it receives relatively little research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Family medicine can help the NIH speed research discovery and improve research relevance; the NIH can help family medicine build its research capacity, and such mutual benefit could mean improvement in public health.
Title VII is critical to the community health center and National Health Service Corps workforce - January 2010
Community health centers (CHCs) and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) are essential to a functioning health care safety net, but they struggle to recruit physicians. Compared with physicians trained in residency programs without Title VII funding, those trained in Title VII-funded programs are more likely to work in CHCs and the NHSC. Title VII funding cuts threaten efforts to improve access to care for the underserved.
Family physicians' present and future role in caring for the elderly - November 2009
The population of patients older than 65 years is projected to increase substantially in the coming years, particularly in rural areas. Family physicians are essential providers of geriatric care, especially in rural areas, but need payment reform to improve their capacity to meet the needs of older patients.
Title VII's decline: Shrinking investment in the primary care training pipeline - October 2009
Title VII, Section 747 is a source of federal funding intended to strengthen the primary care workforce. Despite evidence that Title VII has been successful, its funding has declined over the past three decades, threatening the production of primary care physicians.
Decreasing self-perceived health status despite rising health expenditures - September 2009
Despite steady increases in U.S. health care spending, the population's self-perceived health status has been in a long-term decline. Increased support for public health, prevention, and primary care could reduce growth in spending and improve actual and perceived health.
The effect of facilitation in fostering practice change - June 2009
Working with facilitation agents measurably improves the ability of motivated primary care practices to move towards improved models of care. Widespread primary care practice transformation will likely require facilitation capacity in most communities.
Primary care's ecologic impact on obesity - March 2009
With a costly obesity epidemic, policy makers must recognize factors that may influence obesity not only for each person, but also across communities. Increased primary care physician density on the county level is associated with decreased obesity rates. As we move to restructure the primary care workforce and engage our patients and communities in behavior change, the implications of this association merit closer investigation.
Having a Usual Source of Care Reduces ED Visits - January 2009
The recent growth in the use of emergency departments (EDs) is costly, undesirable, and unnecessary. This trend is partly due to a growing proportion of persons who lack a usual source of care. This group is increasingly likely to rely on EDs for their health care needs compared with those who have a usual source of care.
Changing patient health-risk behavior requires new investment in primary care - October 2008
Evidence supports the effectiveness of primary care interventions to improve nutrition, increase physical activity levels, reduce alcohol intake, and stop tobacco use. However, implementing these interventions requires considerable practice expense. If we hope to change behavior to reduce chronic illness, the way we pay for primary care services must be modified to incorporate these expenses.
Will patients find diversity in the medical home? - July 2008
Mexican Americans and blacks experience disparities in health outcomes relative to white populations. During the past five to 10 years, fewer blacks and Mexican Americans are going to medical school and entering primary care professions. To assure the availability of a patient-centered medical home for all Americans, policy makers must work to support a culturally competent and diverse primary care workforce.
A perfect storm: Changes impacting Medicare threaten primary care access in underserved areas - June 2008
A convergence of three policies could reduce physician Medicare payments by 14.9 to 22.3 percent in 2008, which could jeopardize access for Medicare beneficiaries in underserved areas. Congress and the Executive Branch should coordinate their roles in setting Medicare payment policy, because their overlapping decisions can have additive impact.
Physician distribution and access: Workforce priorities - May 2008
Most Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) exceed federal population-to-physician designation criteria, yet struggle to maintain access to primary care physicians. Policy options for recruiting and retaining primary care physicians to HPSAs, and new HPSA criteria that support access to primary care practices, should be considered.
Why there must be room for mental health in the medical home - March 2008
Most people with poor mental health are cared for in primary care settings, despite many barriers. Efforts to provide everyone a medical home will require the inclusion of mental health care if it is to succeed in improving care and reducing costs.
Behavioral change counseling in the medical home - November 2007
Health-related behavioral counseling can and should be a central offering in the medical home. Primary care practices currently address unhealthy behaviors with their patients, but most practices lack the integrated approaches needed to effectively change these behaviors. Revisions in practice and financing are necessary to fully realize this capacity, which could affect the millions of patients served by the largest health care delivery platform in the United States.
Medical school expansion: An immediate opportunity to meet rural health care needs - July 2007
The first expansion of allopathic medical education in 35 years is under way; this could eliminate rural physician shortage areas if students more likely to practice in rural areas are preferentially admitted and supported.
Rural origins and choosing family medicine predict future rural practice - July 2007
The shortage of physicians in U.S. rural practice may impact access to health care for one in five citizens. Two medical student characteristics that predict eventual practice in rural settings are clear: being born in a rural county and choosing a residency in family medicine.
Will medical school expansion help diversify the physician workforce? - July 2007
The racial/ethnic composition of U.S. medical schools does not reflect the U.S. population. With proper planning, the current medical school expansion could improve physician diversity and reduce health disparities.
Use of patient registries in U.S. primary care practices - June 2007
Patient registries are necessary for high-quality health care, but even in innovative practices, their presence and utilization is inadequate. Registry uptake in primary care may be enhanced by improving the functionality of electronic health records (EHRs) and implementing payment models that reward registry use.
Imperative integration: Medical care for older patients - October 2006
The ecology of medical care changes for older people, with increases in usage of residential and institutional care, emergency departments, and home care. Care integrated across multiple settings, as is proposed for new models of primary care, is essential for the care of older patients.
The diminishing role of FPs in caring for children - May 2006
Nationwide, family physicians (FPs) deliver a smaller proportion of the outpatient care of children than they did 10 years ago. Millions of children depend on FPs for care. Family medicine should reevaluate how it will contribute to the care of the nation's children.
Family physicians help meet the emergency care needs of rural America - April 2006
Ensuring access to emergency care in rural areas remains a challenge. High costs and low patient volumes make 100 percent staffing of rural emergency departments (EDs) by emergency medicine residency–trained physicians (EPs) unlikely. As rurality increases, so does the dependence on family physicians (FPs) to provide quality emergent care.
Mind the gap: Medicare Part D's coverage gaps may affect patient adherence - February 2006
Medicare Part D will lower medication expenditures for many older patients. However, its complex design incorporates a staggered series of cost-sharing mechanisms that create gaps in coverage and may have a negative impact on medication adherence.
Medicare Part D: Who wins, who loses? - February 2006
The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit aims to relieve the burden of out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for persons older than 65 years, but its effects will vary. Persons with low income and those without prior prescription coverage are projected to save the most, whereas those who lose employer-based coverage are predicted to pay more for their existing regimens.
Out-of-pocket prescription costs a continuing burden under Medicare Part D - February 2006
Of 29 million expected Part D beneficiaries, 6.9 million are projected to have annual out-of-pocket medication expenses greater than $750. Accounting for one fourth of all Part D enrollees, these beneficiaries also are most likely to have high aggregate health care costs, putting them at continued financial risk unless additional policy options are considered.
Who will have health insurance in the year 2025? - November 2005
If current trends continue, U.S. health insurance costs will consume the average households annual income by 2025. As health care becomes unaffordable for most people in the United States, it will be necessary to implement innovative models to move the system in a more equitable and sustainable direction.
Excess, shortage, or sufficient physician workforce: How could we know? - November 2005
At least three models have been used to project the future physician workforce, and each produces different results. No physician workforce predictions can be relied on until there is more consideration of and agreement on desired health outcomes and what physicians must do to achieve them.
Physician workforce: Legal immigrants will extend baby boom demands - October 2005
The baby boom generation will place large demands on the Medicare program and the U.S. health care system. These demands may be extended by a large legal immigrant population that will become Medicare-eligible soon after the baby boom generation does. The U.S. health care system should be prepared for sustained stress from this aging population.
Physician assistant and nurse practitioner workforce trends - October 2005
The physician assistant (PA) and nurse practitioner (NP) workforces have realized explosive growth, but this rate of growth may be declining. Most PAs work outside primary care; however, the contributions of PAs and NPs to primary care and interdisciplinary teams should not be neglected.
Number of persons who consulted a physician, 1997 and 2002 - September 2005
Most people in the United States consult a general physician each year, and some see other subspecialists. However, the proportion of people consulting a general physician who sees adults and children appears to be declining.
Patterns of visits to physicians' offices, 1980 to 2003 - September 2005
In the past quarter century, the number of office visits to physicians in the United States increased from 581 million per year to 838 million per year, with slightly more than one half of total visits since 1980 being made to primary care physicians. Most visits to primary care physicians were made to family physicians (FPs) and general practitioners (GPs) until the mid 1990s, when visits to general internists and general pediatricians exceeded visits to FPs and GPs.
Who filled first-year family medicine residency positions from 1991 to 2004? - August 2005
Graduates of U.S. allopathic schools have filled less than one half of the family medicine positions offered in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Match since 2001. Overall fill rates in July have been relatively stable at approximately 94 percent. Family medicine has become reliant on international medical graduates (IMGs), who in 2004 made up 38 percent of first-year residents.
Osteopathic physicians and the family medicine workforce - August 2005
Historically, osteopathic physicians have made an important contribution to the primary care workforce. More than one half of osteopathic physicians are primary care physicians, and most of these are family physicians. However, the proportion of osteopathic students choosing family medicine, like that of their allopathic peers, is declining, and currently is only one in five.
The family physician workforce: The special case of rural populations - July 2005
People living outside metropolitan areas, especially those living in rural counties, depend on family physicians. Resolving the disparities in physician distribution nationwide will require solutions to make rural practice a viable option for more health care workers.
Physician workforce: The special case of health centers and the National Health Service Corps - July 2005
Federally funded health centers and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) depend on family physicians (FPs) and general practitioners (GPs) to meet the needs of millions of medically underserved people. Policy makers and workforce planners should consider how changes in the production of FPs would affect these programs.
Family physicians and the primary care physician workforce in 2004 - June 2005
In 2004, there were 91,600 family physicians (FPs) and general practitioners (GPs) and 222,000 primary care physicians actively caring for patients, one for every 1,321 persons. These primary care physicians represent the largest and best-trained primary care physician workforce that has ever existed in the United States.
The importance of having health insurance and a usual source of care - September 2004
The effects of insurance and having a usual source of care are additive. Efforts to improve health care access for all should provide a medical home and health insurance.
Chiropractors are not a usual source of primary health care - June 2004
Chiropractors are the largest source of office-based care in the United States that does not involve a physician, but people do not view chiropractors as primary providers of health care or advice. Unlike the care given by primary care providers, the majority of care provided by chiropractors is limited to musculoskeletal problems.
What people want from their family physician - May 2004
The public wants and is satisfied by care provided within a patient-physician relationship based on understanding, honesty and trust. If the U.S. healthcare system is ever to become patient-centered, it must be designed to support these values and sustain, rather than fracture relationships people have with their primary physician.
Few people in the United States can identify primary care physicians - May 2004
Almost one decade after the Institute of Medicine defined primary care, only one-third of the American public is able to identify any of the medical specialties that provide it, and only 17% were able to accurately distinguish primary care physicians from medical or surgical specialists and non-physicians. This lack of discrimination compromises the goal of achieving primary care for all and merits immediate attention.
The ecology of medical care for children in the United States: A new application of an old model reveals inequities that can be corrected - December 2003
If equal and adequate access to health care for children in the United States is a goal, we are failing. That failing is most prominent in the setting where most children receive care and preventive services—the doctor’s office.
The U.S. primary care physician workforce: Minimal growth 1980-1999 - October 2003
Growth in the primary care physician workforce (physicians per capita) in the United States has trailed the growth of the specialist physician population in recent years. This has occurred despite calls during the same period for increased production of primary care physicians and educational reforms focusing on primary care.
The U.S. primary care physician workforce: Undervalued service - October 2003
Primary care physicians work hard, but their compensation is not correlated to their work effort when compared with physicians in other specialties. This disparity contributes to student disinterest in primary care specialties.
The U.S. primary care physician workforce: Persistently declining interest in primary care medical specialties - October 2003
A persistent, six-year trend in the choice of specialty training by U.S. medical students threatens the adequacy of the physician workforce of the United States. This pattern should be reversed and requires the attention of policy makers and medical educators.
Family physicians are an important source of newborn care: The case of the state of Maine - August 2003
FPs provided 30 percent of inpatient newborn care in Maine in the year 2000. FPs cared for a large proportion of newborns, especially those insured by Medicaid and in smaller, rural hospitals where FPs also delivered babies. Family medicine’s commitment to serve vulnerable populations of newborns requires continued federal, state, and institutional support for training and development of future FPs.
Family physicians make a substantial contribution to maternity care: The case of the state of Maine - August 2003
Family physicians provided nearly 20 percent of labor and delivery care in Maine in the year 2000. A substantial proportion of this care was provided to women insured by Medicaid and those delivering in smaller, rural hospitals and residency-affiliated hospitals. As family medicine explores its future scope, research identifying regional variations in the maternity care workforce may clarify the need for maternity care training in residency and labor and delivery services in practice.
Family physicians are an important source of mental health care - April 2003
While comprising about 15 percent of the physician workforce, family physicians provided approximately 20 percent of physician office-based mental health visits in the United States between 1980 and 1999. This proportion has remained stable over the past two decades despite a decline in many other types of office visits to family physicians. Family physicians remain an important source of mental health care for Americans.
Family physicians' solutions to common medical errors - March 2003
In two U.S. studies about medical errors in 2000 and 2001, family physicians offered their ideas on how to prevent, avoid, or remedy the five most often reported medical errors. Almost all reports (94 percent) included at least one idea on how to overcome the reported error. These ideas ranged from “do not make errors” (34 percent of all solutions offered to these five error types) to more thoughtfully proposed solutions relating to improved communication mechanisms (30 percent) and ways to provide care differently (26 percent). More education (7 percent) and more resources such as time (2 percent) were other prevention ideas.
Consequences of medical errors observed by family physicians - March 2003
In two studies about medical errors, family physicians reported health, time, and financial consequences in nearly 85 percent of their error reports. Health consequences occurred when the error caused pain, extended or created illness, or placed patients, their families, and others at greater risk of harm. Care consequences included delayed diagnosis and treatment (sometimes of serious health conditions such as cancer), and disruptions to care that sometimes even resulted in patients needing care in a hospital. Other important consequences were financial and time costs to patients, health care providers, and the health system generally. However, sometimes no consequence was apparent.
Types of medical errors commonly reported by family physicians - February 2003
In a group of studies about medical errors in family medicine, the five error types most often observed and reported by U.S. family physicians were: (1) errors in prescribing medications; (2) errors in getting the right laboratory test done for the right patient at the right time; (3) filing system errors; (4) errors in dispensing medications; and (5) errors in responding to abnormal laboratory test results. “Errors in prescribing medications” was the only one of these five error types that was also commonly reported by family physicians in other countries.
Family physicians increase provision of well-infant care despite decline in prenatal services - January 2003
Over the past 20 years, both FP/GPs and pediatricians have upheld their commitment to preventive care for infants. Non-Metropolitan Statistical Areas (non-MSAs) depend on family physicians for almost half of their well-infant care. In fact, FP/GPs have increased their overall provision of well-infant care despite a decline in delivery of prenatal services. This commitment to child health care demands continued excellence of FP training in pediatric medicine, preventive care, and child advocacy.
Family physicians are the main source of primary health care for the Medicare population - December 2002
Of people 65 years and older who reported an individual provider as their usual source of health care, 60 percent identified a family physician or general practitioner. The Medicare population relies heavily on family physicians.
Family physicians' declining contribution to prenatal care in the United States - December 2002
There has been a substantial decline in prenatal care by family physicians over the past 20 years in all geographic regions of the country. Even so, during the past two decades, FP/GPs have provided over two million prenatal visits per year. As the field re-explores future scope, it should consider the erosion of the provision of prenatal care, its effect on the U.S. population and the specialty, and possibilities for revitalization of prenatal care in residency curricula and practice.
Title VII funding is associated with more family physicians and more physicians serving the underserved - August 2002
Title VII funding of departments of family medicine at U.S. medical schools is significantly associated with expansion of the primary care physician workforce and increased accessibility to physicians for the residents of rural and underserved areas. Title VII has been successful in achieving its stated goals and has had an important role in addressing U.S. physician workforce policy issues.
What physicians need to know about seniors and limited prescription benefits and why - July 2002
More and more often, seniors are faced with outpatient prescription benefits that have annual spending limits and may be forced to cut back on use of medications when they run out of benefits before the end of the year. Family physicians can play a valuable role by helping seniors choose the best value medications for their budgets and by checking whether or not seniors can afford their prescriptions.
Uncoordinated growth of the primary care workforce - November 2001
Family physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are distinctly different in their clinical training, yet they function interdependently. Together, they represent a significant proportion of the primary care work force. Training capacity for these three professions has increased rapidly over the past decade, but almost no collaborative work force planning has occurred.
Trumping professional roles: Collaboration of nurse practitioners and physicians for a better U.S. health care system - October 2001
Professional turf battles have yielded variations in the scope of practice for nurse practitioners (NPs) obstructing collaboration with physicians that would enhance patient care. Patients would be better served if NPs and physicians worked together to develop better combined models of education and service that take advantage of the benefits of both professions' contributions to care.
The contemporary ecology of US medical care confirms the importance of primary care - September 2001
More women, men and children receive medical care each month in the offices of primary care physicians than any other professional setting. There is an urgent need for health policies that encourage further innovation and implementation of first-rate primary care for everyone.
The United States relies on family physicians, unlike any other specialty - May 2001
Designation of a county as a Primary Care Health Personnel Shortage Area (PCHPSA) depends on the number of primary care physicians practicing there. Without family physicians, an additional 1332 of the United States' 3082 urban and rural counties would qualify for designation as primary care HPSAs. This contrasts with an additional 176 counties that would meet the criteria for designation if all internists, pediatricians and ob/gyns in aggregate were withdrawn. The United States relies on family physicians, unlike any other specialty.
The patient safety grid: Toxic cascades in health care settings - March 2001
The Patient Safety Grid shows the fields where action is necessary in a comprehensive national effort to reduce harm from medical errors. Each segment of the grid is important and connected to others, sometimes forming a toxic cascade.
Toxic cascades: A comprehensive way to think about medical errors - March 2001
Current thinking about threats to patient safety caused by medical errors is often focused in hospital on the immediate consequences of mistakes that affect specific aspects of care, such as testing procedures or medications. Some mistakes, however, become apparent distant from where they were committed and only after a lapse in time. The model of a toxic cascade organizes an approach to making U.S. health care safer for patients by locating upstream sources and downstream consequences of errors within a comprehensive, multilevel scheme.
The importance of primary care physicians as the usual source of healthcare in the achievement of prevention goals - November 2000
Having a usual source of care enhances achieving clinical prevention goals for both children and adults. There is room for improvement, and differences between the practices of internists and family physicians suggest that slightly longer visits and having health insurance might contribute to achieving proven prevention strategies. medica
The importance of having a usual source of health care - August 2000
Most people (82%) in the United States have and use a usual source of care, and a majority of them name a particular primary care physician as that source. Regardless of self-reported health status, people benefit from having a usual source of health care even if they are uninsured.
The effect of accredited rural training tracks on physician placement - July 2000
Accredited family practice rural training tracks place their graduates in rural settings at very high rates: 76% overall and 88% among programs implemented in the last ten years. Favorable, immediate results could be expected from their continuation and expansion, permitted by adjustments in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.