Monday, June 2, 2008
With the graying of America, there is much needed demand for doctors to train in treating the elderly. There are 78 million baby boomers and the US health care system is not prepared to take care of them. Not only can we not afford it but we also don’t have the geriatricians available to meet their needs. The Institute of Medicine has put out a report proclaiming to fix this travesty. Currently, just one doctor specializes in geriatrics for every 2,500 Americans over the age of 65. The report does mention the financial disparity on this shortfall of geriatricians. No kidding. First of all, family doctors and internists can do the job almost as well as geriatricians so I am not convinced that increasing the amount of geriatricians is an answer in itself. That being said, all these specialties are in crisis because of the same reason. The government pays more for procedural care than cognitive care regardless of the time spent performing that care. Until that changes there will be a constant flow of these “sky is falling” articles being published for years to come. And no one will do a thing about it. But we will keep paying a gastroenterologist $1000 a colonoscopy as he runs 15-20 through a day at his outpatient center.
Posted by Authentic Medicine Blog at 7:46 AM