A white paper generated by the Academic Consortium for Complementary & Alternative Health Care's (ACCAHC) Primary Care Project and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Senior Research Scientist, Michael Goldstein, PhD, addresses a clear oversight noted in recent workforce analyses designed to assess the nation's primary care needs: the potential contribution of doctors of chiropractic and other providers, including doctors of naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners, and direct-entry midwives.
Among the recommendations endorsed by the project's co-leaders is the following, directed to each profession's leaders: "Clarify your discipline's relationship with primary care in conventional medicine by identifying gaps in training and specify how these gaps might be addressed. Explicitly distinguish those in the discipline who work in primary care from those who prefer to work as specialists. Promote and engage research that will assist all stakeholders in understanding your discipline's role in helping meet primary care needs.
"Specify the extent to which your discipline encompasses a distinct model of primary care, and clarify the unique contribution this approach can make to conventional primary care practice, and coordinated care provided in patient-centered medical homes."
In an ACCAHC press release announcing the white paper, Dr. Goldstein commented: "It's clear that while generally unrecognized by the conventional medical community and workforce planners, these disciplines presently relieve some of the burden on the primary care system. These practitioner groups represent a hidden dimension of primary care in the United States. Especially in a patient-centered era with the emergence of patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and accountable care organizations (ACOs), these disciplines merit more focused and objective examination."
To review the ACCAHC white paper, "Meeting the Nation's Primary Care Needs: Current and Prospective Roles of Doctors of Chiropractic and Naturopathic Medicine, Practitioners of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and Direct-Entry Midwives," click here.