SD5 - Study of Health Workforce Initiatives Pursuant to SJR 308 of 1995

Executive Summary:

Primary care is a cornerstone of a cost-effective health care system. When one considers that primary care includes preventive care as well as diagnostic, treatment, consultative, and referral services, it is clear that lack of access to needed primary care services can cause personal suffering. It is also true that the costs of an inadequate primary care system are borne by the larger community as well. People who cannot obtain needed primary care services are at greater risk for secondary and tertiary care problems which are more costly to treat. Also, communities without an adequate primary care system may face economic development problems as businesses search for communities which are able to meet the health care needs of their employees.

Health workforce reform is important for addressing Virginia's primary care access problems. Numerous Virginia communities lack adequate access to primary care services, and primary care provider shortages are a major cause of this problem. As managed care becomes the predominant mode of health care delivery in Virginia, the demand for primary care services is increasing. As this occurs, the demand for high quality primary care providers will increase as well.