The urgency of preparing primary care physicians to care for older people with chronic illnesses

Chad Boult, Steven R. Counsell, Rosanne M. Leipzig, Robert A. Berenson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Population trends are driving an undeniable imperative: The United States must begin training its primary care physicians to provide higher-quality, more cost-effective care to older people with chronic conditions. Doing so will require aggressive initiatives to educate primary care physicians to apply principles of geriatrics - for example, optimizing functional autonomy and quality of life - within emerging models of chronic care. Policy options to drive such reforms include the following: providing financial support for medical schools and residency programs that adopt appropriate educational innovations; tailoring Medicare's educational subsidy to reform graduate medical education; and invoking state requirements that physicians obtain geriatric continuing education credits to maintain their licensure or to practice as Medicaid providers or medical directors of nursing homes. This paper also argues that the expertise of geriatricians could be broadened to include educational and leadership skills. These geriatrician-leaders could then become teachers in the educational programs of many disciplines. This would require changes inside and outside academic medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-818
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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