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Primary care issues take center stage

The following was written by Dr. Geoffrey L. Jones. To read the full article go to Times-News Be Our Guest Column. [caption id="attachment_477" align="alignleft" width="133" caption="Dr. Geoffrey Jones"][/caption] Wednesday, April 7, 2010 The article "Physician shortages may worsen" in the March 29 issue of the Times-News highlights many of the challenges primary care physicians are facing nationally. While there are valid arguments on both sides of the health care debate, no one argues that primary care is in trouble. For years there has been declining medical student interest in primary care specialties like family practice. Reasons for this are multi-factorial, including low pay relative to our peers, an increasingly complicated and inadequate payment system and perceived lifestyle sacrifices. Despite the controversies, health care reform is finally here. Primary care doctors in western North Carolina are already preparing for increased numbers of patients. Caring for more patients will certainly require more primary care doctors. To become a family physician, medical school graduates train for an additional three years in the specialty of family practice. Since 1994, the Hendersonville Family Medicine Residency Program has been striving to meet the primary health care needs of Henderson County. Sponsored jointly by the Mountain Area Health Education Center, Margaret R. Pardee Hospital and the University of North Carolina, the program's mission is to produce superior family physicians to serve the patients of western North Carolina and to provide leadership in improving access to quality health care. Our laboratory is the Hendersonville Family Health Center, which has been a national leader in the movement toward the patient-centered medical home. -CJP

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