Innovative Program Tackles Shortage in Primary Care
Innovative Program Tackles Shortage in Primary Care
Robust physician mentoring program shapes future of primary care
- U.S. will need 39,000 more family physicians by 2020
- North Carolina will need 4,700 family physicians by 2020
Chapel Hill, N.C. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation today announced a $1.18 million grant to the N.C. Academy of Family Physicians (NCAFP) Foundation for a mentoring program to help address the shortage of family physicians in North Carolina. Through this grant, NCAFP will increase medical students’ exposure to innovative practice in family medicine and encourage more of the state’s medical students to pursue a career in family medicine, ultimately ensuring that more North Carolinians have access to high quality primary care.
Recently passed health care reform legislation will increase the number of North Carolinians who are insured and who seek regular primary care, exacerbating the shortfall of primary care physicians. A 2006 American Academy of Family Physicians Workforce Study estimated that the United States will need approximately 39,000 more family physicians by 2020. North Carolina now has about 2,700 family physicians, with projections indicating the state will need 2,000 more by 2020 in order to address the state’s health care needs. While the number of family physicians in North Carolina is growing, current rates of growth would only meet 75 percent of the projected need.
“Communities across North Carolina work hard to attract quality physicians to provide primary care for our citizens,” said Brad Wilson, chairman of the BCBSNC Foundation. “However, we are already faced with a national shortage of primary care physicians, and the recently passed health care reform legislation will mean an increase in the number of folks seeking care. We hope that through this initiative, North Carolina medical students will receive the help and incentive they need to make a commitment to family medicine.”
The $1.18 million grant supports the establishment of the Family Medicine Interest and Scholars Program, a two-tiered effort to help increase the number of North Carolina-trained medical students who elect family medicine residency programs and go on to practice in the state.
“With the urgent need for more primary care physicians, we are proud to support a program that will have a real impact on this state,” added Kathy Higgins, president of the BCBSNC Foundation. “Identifying students early who are interested in a career in family medicine and helping them reach that goal will in-turn benefit communities all across North Carolina.”
The program aims to increase the percentage of medical students who commit to a residency in family medicine by approximately 30 percent and the percent of those who elect to stay in the state for their residency training from 56 percent in 2008 to at least two-thirds over the length of the six-year program. This grant is expected to yield a significant return on investment. According to the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies, the annual economic impact of one new family physician to the state of North Carolina is more than $950,000.
The program will provide North Carolina medical students with role models in family medicine, pairing them with innovative family physicians in clinical practice settings. These physician mentors will work with students for three consecutive years to strengthen skills, offer guidance and help fast-track their health care leadership training and experience.
The program also targets a broader audience of medical students to increase interest in family medicine by improving and increasing interaction between practicing family physicians and students at each of North Carolina’s four medical schools.
"The North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians is committed to improving primary and family health care in North Carolina and our hope is that this program sparks the health care industry to look for more innovative ways to address the primary care shortage in our state,” said Greg Griggs, executive vice president, NCAFP. “We understand that pursuing family medicine is often not an easy choice for medical students. We believe this grant will help make family medicine more of an option for North Carolina medical students. And the access to dedicated mentors will help these students provide quality medical care to patients across the state."
Students who participate in the scholars program will also receive additional exposure to family medicine throughout their schooling, including additional clinical experiences, and will have the opportunity to access scholarship funding if they ultimately enter a family medicine residency program.
The NCAFP Foundation has identified the students and mentors participating in the program for the 2010-2011 academic year.
|Corrie Burke||Lithonia, GA||UNC School of Medicine|
|Hannah Fuhr||Bad Kreuznach, Germany||Brody School of Medicine at ECU|
|Kelley Haven||Greenville, NC||Brody School of Medicine at ECU|
|Samantha Heuertz||Charlotte, NC||UNC School of Medicine|
|Ashley Hink||Raleigh, NC||Brody School of Medicine at ECU|
|Holly Love||Mount Pleasant, NC||Brody School of Medicine at ECU|
|William Martin||Winterville, NC||UNC School of Medicine|
|Brian Moore||Chapel Hill, NC||UNC School of Medicine|
|Brian Sanders||Greensboro, NC||Wake Forest University School of Medicine|
|Daniel White||Johnson City, TN||UNC School of Medicine|
|Patrick Williams||Hickory, NC||Brody School of Medicine at ECU|
|Mark E. Beamer, MD||Belhaven, NC||Pungo Family Medicine, PA|
|Sara O. Beyer, MD||Charlotte, NC||Steele Creek Family Practice|
|Jonathan E. Fischer, MD||Carrboro, NC||Piedmont Health Services|
|Conrad L. Flick, MD||Raleigh, NC||Family Medical Associates of Raleigh|
|Brian R. Forrest, MD||Apex, NC||Access Healthcare|
|Elizabeth P. Fry, MD||Greenville, NC||Physicians East|
|Michelle F. Jones, MD||Wilmington, NC||Wilmington Health Associates|
|David E. Lee, MD||Lewisville, NC||Family Medical Associates|
|J. Thomas Newton, MD||Clinton, NC||Clinton Medical Clinic, Inc.|
|Charles W. Rhodes, MD||Mount Pleasant, NC||Cabarrus Family Medicine|
|J. Carson Rounds, MD||Wake Forest, NC||Village Family Medicine|
About North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians:
The North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, Inc. (NCAFP) is a non-profit professional association headquartered in Raleigh representing nearly 2,700 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students across North Carolina. It is the largest medical specialty association in North Carolina and is a constituent chapter of the 94,700 member-strong American Academy of Family Physicians, based in Leawood, Kansas.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation's focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations - improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities - increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence - increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. BCBSNC Foundation invests programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, the Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. More information is available at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.