Better health. One connection at a time.
On September 2, Health Leads CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Onie appeared on the top-rated MSNBC program “Melissa Harris-Perry” to discuss the Affordable Care Act and the challenge of more patients becoming insured while fewer medical students pursue primary care.
As the panel examined the reasons behind the primary care shortage, Rebecca explained, “[Medical students] look ahead to what it means to be a primary care doctor and how increasingly challenging it is with so many patients coming in with a whole set of issues that aren’t even about their presenting clinical needs but about the fact that they don’t have food at home or they have unsafe housing and those show up as clinical conditions but for a lot of medical students that’s daunting.”
Describing the Health Leads model, Rebecca proposed expanding the definition of primary care providers through the use of a lay workforce to better leverage doctors’ skills and training. “There’s the challenge of the primary care workforce pipeline but then there’s also the opportunity to think through how we get more leverage from the existing primary care workforce,” she explained. “How do we expand the definition of the primary care provider to include not only physicians but also nurses and physicians assistants, and also to even go beyond that and bring in lay workforces to address some of these basic resource needs like access to healthy food or heat in the winter that often really complicate the clinical care provided but that you don’t need doctors themselves to address?”
Watch the clips below to hear more.