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Baldwin Wallace College addresses shortage of primary care doctors
A new program is designed to increase the number of primary-care doctors by making the medical specialty more attractive

Kevin Niedermier
Courtesy of Baldwin Wallace
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Another Northeast Ohio university is trying to help ease the lack of primary care doctors. Baldwin Wallace University is adding an undergraduate program that blends courses from its public health major with medical science.

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Dr. Joseph Yavornitzky is director of Baldwin Wallace’s new program aimed at increasing primary-care doctors. He says many students for next fall’s first class will be recruited from Ohio’s medically under-served rural and urban communities, students he hopes will be more inclined to return home to practice. Also, some yet-undisclosed medical schools have agreed to grant these graduates assured acceptance into their primary-care programs. Yavornitzky hopes it will draw students into primary care instead of the higher paying-medical specialties most students pursue.

“They become cardio or thoracic surgeons, they become dermatologists. But our goal is to collect these students and really educate them as to the value and significance of primary care so that, as they’re linked to these primary-care pathways in medical school, they’ll not only know that they want to become primary-care physicians, but why they want to become primary-care physicians.”

Nearly two thirds of Ohio’s counties report shortages of primary-care doctors. The Northeast Ohio Medical University in Portage County offers an accelerated primary-care program that can take as few as six years to complete. Earning an M.D. typically takes about eight years, including undergraduate study.                                  

Listener Comments:

Ok, I was browsing the site and am just going to jump in here:

Scholars in pre-med, med school or residency should still avoid primary care, needed or not. The healthcare marketplace sends the authentic message: 'You're not that important in medicine so don't put so much into it or expect much out of it.'

My spouse is a primary care doc, full time now about 27 years full time patient care, works 50 weeks a year, 45 hours a week with patients. 80% of the US public will overestimate this doc's annual income by double and another 19% by three or more times (symbolic figures).

Here are two unpopular ways to address primary care shortage: Allow nurse practitioners to practice freely and send more complex patients to doctors as they see fit.

Or teach PC docs business management skills so if they go into private practice (another mistake) they can use cost accounting to address high admin. costs and marketing to compete with the mega-practices and health network docs.

Otherwise just give it up. I wish my spouse would.

The training, complexity, risk, and endurance required in private practice PC is way out of line with the net income. Great patient care just doesn't cut it anymore.

Posted by: Marcus Aurelius (Penna.) on November 13, 2013 8:11AM
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