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Michael Heck
Michael Heck
Occupation: Medical student
Hometown: Tampa, Fla.
"The shortage should be corrected. As a medical student, I can tell you firsthand why there is a primary care shortage. They don't get paid enough. Why would I go into a field that makes 50% of most other medical fields and has ten-times as much paperwork?"

"The simple answer is that primary care salaries need to be increased. The more complicated answer is that the entire physician payment system must be reworked. Physicians are currently paid for an 'office visit' every time they see a patient. So they must see more patients per day in order to keep the office open."

"The result? Doctors running late, patients angry, and short office visits where problems are not addressed correctly. Sound familiar?"

"While I agree that mid-level providers are an important part of our health care delivery system, they are NOT physicians. When all is said and done, I will have undergone 11 or more years of medical training. Mid-levels, while skilled, do not posses the same breadth of knowledge as physicians and display varying levels of skill managing complicated patients. Also, mid-levels have been known to miss diagnoses. How would you feel if your child had worrying symptoms, but the nurse practitioner diagnosed her with `the flu' only for her to die of a bacterial infection weeks later?"

"I would be in favor of granting mid-levels expanded duties in true health shortage areas. A better solution would be to increase doctors' salaries in those areas."

NEXT: Sumin Shah

Last updated August 03 2009: 9:29 AM ET
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