From 1980 to 1999, family physicians, general internists, and general pediatricians have been outnumbered by specialists. Despite this disparity, these primary care physicians have continued to provide a larger proportion of office-based visits than specialists; while comprising a minority of physicians, primary care physicians provided a majority of visits made to doctors' offices.
The disproportionately large service commitment by primary care physicians has not been rewarded compared with other types of physicians.
|Specialist||Average number of patient visits per week, 1999||Net income after expenses, before taxes, 2000|
Continuing to pay primary care physicians considerably less than other doctors discourages medical students from choosing primary care careers. This disparity threatens access to care and impedes achieving better health for all Americans. A better balance of physician reimbursement for care is urgently needed.