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Ideas and Opinions |

Physicians for Our Country: A Letter to the Congress

ROBERT G. PETERSDORF, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Robert G. Petersdorf, M.D.; Chairman, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Seattle, WA 98195.


Seattle, Washington


Ann Intern Med. 1976;85(1):117-119. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-85-1-117
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Attempts to redress the imbalance in the geographic and specialty distribution of physicians by legislative means is unlikely to solve the problem. Moreover, the proposed health manpower legislation may not be necessary because National Health Service Corps scholarships are already oversubscribed threefold, and more than 50% of the 1976 graduates of medical schools are opting for the primary care specialties of family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics. While there are too many subspecialists in medicine and surgery, the realization by young physicians that primary care represents the greater need and market forces are combining to halt the overproduction of specialists. Better deployment of allied health personnel and improved communication will upgrade care in the rural areas, while correction of a number of societal ills will be needed to improve health in the inner cities.

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