AAFP Statement: AAFP Commends Congress for Continued Support of Health Professions Grants

Monday, December 19, 2011

Statement attributable to:
Glen Stream, MD, MBI
American Academy of Family Physicians

“At a time of federal budgetary restraint, the American Academy of Family Physicians appreciates Congress’ vote to continue support for the health professions grants that are vital to building the nation’s primary care physician workforce.

“By maintaining funding for Section 747 of Title VII of the Public Health Service Act at nearly $40 million for fiscal year 2012, Congress has ensured that primary care programs in America’s medical schools can continue to support curricular enhancements and other innovations that encourage students to become primary care physicians.

“Meaningful health system reform depends on primary care physicians who provide comprehensive, preventive, coordinated care that helps rein in the unnecessary, duplicative and costly services that contribute to our spiraling health care costs.

“Moreover, demand for primary care is growing rapidly, and we must increase the number of primary care physicians to provide meet that demand. Our policies must encourage more medical students to become family physicians, general internists and pediatricians.

“The Obama Administration recognized that the Title VII Training in Primary Care Medicine program is a key component to that effort and had called for increasing the Section 747 program to $140 million in FY 2012. Research consistently shows that students attending medical schools receiving Title VII grants are more likely to go into primary care and to serve in underserved areas.

“Pressures to increase the primary care physician workforce continue, and we will work for future growth in Title VII funding. However, by their continued support health professions grants that increase the number of U.S. medical students choosing primary care specialties, Congress has taken a first step in ensuring patients will always have access to needed care.

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Stream, contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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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).