AAFP Statement: American Academy of Family Physicians Responds to President Obama’s Speech to the American Medical Association

Monday, June 15, 2009

Statement attributable to:
Ted Epperly, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians commends President Obama for calling out the importance of primary care in his speech to the AMA today as the cornerstone for establishing a high-quality, affordable and efficient health care system that ensures health care for all and the quality of care that all Americans deserve.

“In his speech, the president referenced the key tenets of the Patient-Centered Medical Home, including the need for electronic health records, preventive care, team based care and incentives for doctors to spend more time with their patients. The AAFP believes the Patient-Centered Medical Home will help build a health care system that, as President Obama said, will "give Americans the best care at the lowest costs.'

“The AAFP also thanks President Obama for recognizing the value of primary care physicians by saying, "we need to rethink the cost of a medical education, and do more to reward medical students who choose a career as a primary care physicians and who choose to work in underserved areas instead of a more lucrative path.'

“As Congress and President Obama work on comprehensive health reform, we urge them to increase funding for graduate medical education for family medicine and other primary care residency programs. This will encourage more medical students to pursue a career in family medicine, especially in rural areas of the country where we are facing a severe primary care shortage.”

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).