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Do We Really Need More Physicians? Responses to Predicted Primary Care Physician Shortages

Chen, Peggy Guey-Chi MD, MSc, MHS; Mehrotra, Ateev MD, MPH; Auerbach, David I. PhD, MS

doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000046

Predicted primary care shortages have spurred action to increase the number of primary care physicians. However, simply increasing the number of primary care providers is not the only solution to resolving the imbalance between the supply of primary care physicians and the demand for primary care services. In this point-counterpoint, we highlight the limitations of existing primary care shortage predictions and discuss strategies to deliver primary care services without necessarily increasing the number of primary care physicians for a given population. Innovative solutions can be used to reduce or even eliminate projected primary care shortages while changing the prevailing paradigm of primary care.

RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Peggy Guey-Chi Chen, MD, MSc, MHS, RAND Corporation, 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90407. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.