KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

New Medical Schools Aim At Doubling Number Of Primary Care Doctors

New medical schools are trying to double the number of primary care doctors in America, while MedPAC considers better pay for advanced-practice nurses and physicians assistants under Medicare.

Medscape: New Medical Schools Aim To Double Primary Care Graduates
Among the nation's newest medical schools are 2 that stand out for the career path they are emphasizing: primary care. Quinnipiac University's Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine in North Haven, Connecticut, and the University of California–Riverside School of Medicine both will admit their first students in August. They hope to at least double the percentage of graduating physicians who typically choose primary care. A study published online December 4 in JAMA found that only 21 percent of third-year residents planned to enter internal medicine (Frellick, 4/5). 

Medpage Today: MedPAC Debates Better Pay For APRNs, Pas
Some members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) suggested Medicare take stronger steps to recognize and reward the work of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs). Medicare payments generally follow along with states' scope-of-practice laws for APRNs and PAs, which vary widely in what they allow the lower-level providers to do and, hence, can bill Medicare for. If a particular state allows an APRN to operate independently of a physician, Medicare will pay the APRN 85 percent of what a doctor would receive for providing that service. But if the APRN must work under a physician, that doctor receives 100 percent of the payment for that service -- at the regular physician fee schedule rate -- even if the doctor didn't provide it (Pittman, 4/5).

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