For the first time in over 10 years, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) plans to develop a major revision of the Family Medicine Residency Guidelines. The ACGME Family Medicine writing group, led by Stacy Potts, MD, will convene in the late fall of 2020, with the formal process beginning in early 2021. A major revision provides a rare and important opportunity for the specialty of family medicine–convening conversations across the specialty and bringing forward substantial evidence to bear, while coordinating with the ACGME through the process.

Understanding how family medicine care evolves is imperative given the importance of team-based care and evidence suggesting that a team-based structure is essential for the primary care workforce to meet the chronic and preventive care needs of the population.

An increase in burnout among early career family physicians has raised concerns about how well family medicine retains its graduates. However, a recent ABFM study found 9 out of 10 of family medicine residency graduates over a 24-year period remained in the primary care workforce, designating family medicine as their primary specialty. Between 1994-2017, 66,778 residents completed training in an ACGME accredited family medicine residency, with 81% certifying with ABFM in 2017.

A vibrant and rich research enterprise is vital to family physicians and other primary care providers, enabling them to find answers to questions relevant to services provided to patients, in all stages of health. Extensive literature that captures research productivity across a number of topics, countries and disciplines is regularly used in hiring, annual reviews, promotion and grants.

Declines in patient visits during COVID-19 shutdowns is projected to cost U.S. primary care $15 billion in revenue by the end of the year, with full-time primary care physicians, on average, losing more than $65K in revenue in 2020.

The full article, Primary Care Practice Finances In The United States Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic, can be found by clicking here.

Previous research has shown higher burnout rates among physicians when compared to other US workers. Physician burnout is particularly concerning as it can not only lead to worse patient outcomes, but also affect the physician’s own health.

Practicing obstetrics (OB) used to be fairly common for family physicians, but in the last 40 years, that number has steadily declined with only 8% of family physicians practicing OB in 2016. However, 22% of recent graduates plan to include OB in their practice.

Physicians, including primary care physicians, experience a higher rate of burnout than those in many other professions. In a special issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, entitled Well-Being of the Health Care Team, several studies by researchers at ABFM report on factors affecting burnout in family physicians.

Addressing social determinants of health is essential to reducing pervasive health disparities, yet physicians still struggle with methods to identify patients’ needs and how to address those needs.

Total annual health care expenditures in the US doubled between 2002–2016, growing from $810 billion to $1617 billion, while the already small proportion spent on primary care declined to 5.4%. This means that approximately a nickel out of every dollar spent on healthcare went to primary care, which has been declared the ‘central function’ of any effective health system internationally. The US health care system continues to underperform relative to the health systems in other high-income countries.

In 2016, primary care physicians provided 54.5% of all patient care visits and are the same physicians who manage the most of the care for people with high-risk conditions that make them vulnerable for contracting coronavirus. However, most primary care practices are seeing a 30–70% reduction in patient visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.