Legislative Proposal for Creative Primary Care Workforce Solutions

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) believes that everyone should have affordable, high-quality health care. One barrier to achieving this priority is the shrinking primary care workforce trained in the US. Our nation’s leaders must address the growing physician shortage and the resultant health disparities by implementing creative solutions to recruit and retain students who are more likely to work in primary care fields.

Proposed solutions:

  • Actively seek students who are interested in practicing medicine in primary care fields by redoubling efforts to identify rural students interested in attending medical school and prepare them to do so—such students have been observed to choose medical careers in primary care more so than those representing other geographic areas.
     
  • Increase financial support for pipeline programs that currently identify college students who are more likely to enter primary care fields and practice in medically underserved areas.  The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) model of the AAMC is a program with such a purpose.
     
  • Increase funding for the National Health Service Corps to repay loans and increase grant monies for medical students and primary care providers from allied health professional fields. Focus this program on incentivizing primary care. Enhance health corps appeal for medical students and allied health professions students by allowing students the flexibility to choose this program as a career and as an education financing option at any point in their student and resident medical career. 
    Weight recruitment efforts to the final, clinical years of medical education, when students are more likely to make an informed decision to enter primary care. Redouble efforts to retain those professionals in primary care fields once their corps tenure expires, and increase service terms allowed for students enrolled in the program.
     
  • Include erecting new medical schools that focus exclusively on primary care as a part of the infrastructural improvements that are a component of the incoming administration’s economic development plan.
     
  • Reward those schools that already focus on training primary care providers by increasing funding for the primary care-related research being conducted at such institutions making it commensurate with that awarded for more specialized research occurring at other institutions that demonstrate less focus on primary care.
     
  • Implement robust programs of loan deferment that are available to residents for the entire length of residency. Focus these programs on primary care fields.
     
  • Give income tax breaks to residents and new physicians during loan repayment.