Is Primary Care On Life Support?

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Doctors examine a patient. (Seattle Municipal Archives)
Doctors examine a patient. (Seattle Municipal Archives)

For the fifth straight year, according to the Massachusetts Medical Society, primary care doctors in Massachusetts are in short supply. More than half of all family medicine practices in the state are now closed to new patients. And wait times for PCPs have increased. But the demand for these doctors is greater than ever now that more people are getting health insurance under national health reform.

So the outcry was huge when Harvard Medical School decided last year to de-fund its already small primary care program. Protests by medical students and health care providers forced the school to take a second look. As a result, a new $30 million "Center for Primary Care" at Harvard will soon open.

Today, we talk about the future of primary care in Massachusetts — and whether primary care even has much of a future.


  • Dr. David Bates, head of general medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Dr. Alan Goroll, primary care doctor, Massachusetts General Hospital; professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Andrew Morris-Singer, primary care doctor, Brigham and Women's Hospital; founder, Primary Care Progress

This segment aired on November 23, 2010.


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