I initially set out to write a post about lack of access to primary care physicians, but the more I explored the topic, the more I realized that the issue is not only that access to PCPs is limited, but that the medical model of primary care itself has changed.
It has been widely discussed among bioethicists and health care policy experts that emergency departments are overcrowded, urgent care centers are rapidlybecoming a substitute for the traditional primary care doctor, and that the number of new physicians specializing in primary care medicine has been declining in favor of other, higher-paying specialties. Still, many insurance plans require regular visits with a PCP and only cover specialty services if the referral is made by the patient’s primary doctor. Specialists and urgent care clinicians also insist that patients follow up with their PCP after treatment and make sure that their records are forwarded. Despite the push for establishing a “medical home” and centralizing care around the primary care physician, demand for urgent care or emergency services is still high, and getting into a practice or getting a timely appointment with a primary care physician is difficult.
The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI's online graduate programs, please visit our website.