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InCharge HEALTHCARE 2018 amount of time physicians spend in non-direct patient care. Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants help physicians extend services to communities. They are a key component of physician led team-based care to help with patient volume and access Mitchell continued.

According to Mitchell, “There are many obstacles to the reform of healthcare. The healthcare system is extremely complicated and there is no single answer that will resolve all of the issues. Our lawmakers are typically not involved in the healthcare industry and thus lack a grasp of some important concepts. Studies have shown that healthcare costs decrease, and healthcare quality improves with access to a family medicine physician. Studies have also shown there will be a primary care physician shortage by 2025. The greatest shortage will be in rural areas. If we cannot find solutions to the growing need for physicians, then access to care will be increasingly difficult. There is currently no major discussion about increasing the number of medical schools or increasing the number of residency positions. There should be incentives for medical students who choose rural primary care and they should also be able to enter into loan forgiveness programs in exchange

“The use of and incorporation of Advanced Practice Providers, (Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants) as well as Behavioral Health providers into the rural community in a more progressive means has to be a component of the solution,” said Ross. “Primary Care Physicians are becoming a scarcity, particularly in rural areas, so that we have to work to utilize the available providers. In my opinion, we have an antiquated regulatory system on medical schools that prohibits the means for more students to go to medical school that also does not encourage pursuing primary care roles.”

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for their commitment to the communities,” said Mitchell. “Many issues are being addressed in Washington without frontline providers having input. No one is educating the patient to the different changes and facts regarding coverages that they have or don’t have and subsequent requirements of the plans,” said Ross. “It is an injustice to all who are uneducated in the components and understanding of the terminology, coverage, requirements and steps to navigate the future of healthcare.” “Continuation of the existing challenges that face us today – rising expenses, decreasing reimbursement, recruitment/ retention of physicians and nurses – is the biggest threat to all hospitals,” said Beus. “We are currently waiting for decisions that extend programs such as Medicare Dependent status and drug purchasing programs, and the development of a rural wage index,” said Casteel. We will soon face issues concerning pricing for hospital based services versus free standing services. These are all reimbursement related. But the next issue is, how do we excite the next generation to return to rural communities, thereby waving off extreme healthcare work shortages? Some decisions are made by extending funding for programs,” she said. “For other issues, communities as well as lawmakers will need to better understand the impact of losing rural healthcare. Many communities have lost industry. Will healthcare now be another lost industry in rural areas or will we find the opportunities through blending types of providers, joining partnerships, and better understanding consumers? In healthcare, it seems our next big issues will remain around the changing environment of reimbursement and the challenges of sustaining a work force.”

InCharge 18 WTMN  

West TN Medical News InCharge 2018

InCharge 18 WTMN  

West TN Medical News InCharge 2018