At their meeting on November 11, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Board of Directors reviewed the pipeline work of both the OAFP and the OAFP Foundation. Workforce/pipeline work is integrated into virtually all elements of the Academy’s work. In addition, one of the OAFP’s strategic goals is to support the Foundation’s mission and vision to ensure a sufficient family medicine workforce in Ohio.
The OAFP advances family medicine and primary care by educating stakeholders as to the importance of a strong primary care workforce and about the foundational value that family medicine provides to the health of all Ohioans. We advocate for a payment system that consistently recognizes and reimburses the demonstrated value of family medicine. Academy work includes advocating for the family medicine line funding; creation, promotion, and improvement of Choose Ohio First Primary Care Scholarships; and promotion and improvement of the Ohio Physician Loan Repayment Program. The OAFP advocates with the Council of Deans to incentivize production of primary care physicians, and collaborates with the Ohio Coalition of Primary Care Physicians, the Ohio Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative Workforce Learning Center, and the Ohio Primary Care Physician Workforce Collaborative on workforce policy.
The OAFP also advocates for policies that improve the practice environment in order to attract students to family medicine but also to keep practicing family physicians in the workforce. Examples of that work include: administrative simplification (prior authorization legislation, step therapy reform, paperwork reduction, making EHRs helpful tools rather than burdens), better payment, reducing legislative interference into the practice of medicine, improved lifestyle, family medicine joy and wellness.
Two years ago, the OAFP formed the Family Medicine Educators Workgroup that is made up of the allopathic and osteopathic family medicine residency program directors, department chairs, and Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) coordinators. They meet by conference call to stay up to date on OAFP’s pipeline advocacy work, programming available for medical students through the OAFP Foundation, messaging relative to the importance of OAFP membership after medical school and residency, and opportunities for medical student and resident participation in the OAFP and the Foundation.
The Foundation has focused its efforts in three programs that have supporting data as to outcomes that make a difference in generating student interest in primary care.
- The first program is the Leroy A. Rodgers, MD, Preceptorship Program. Over 1,000 medical students have participated since 1990; 70 students in 2017 and 57 students in 2018. Outcomes show that one-third of all participants choose the family medicine specialty and three-quarters of participants overall enter primary care career specialties.
- On November 10, the Foundation Board of Trustees increased the number of scholarships it will offer to the 2019 American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students (National Conference) from four to 14. According to a University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine study, 51% of students attending one AAFP National Conference enter a family medicine residency, 90% of students attending two AAFP National Conferences enter a family medicine residency; and the earlier in the medical school experience these scholarships are offered, the more impactful they are.
- The FMIG Connection webpage serves as a resource for FMIGs across the state. The Foundation maintains an FMIG website resource page, visits FMIGs, and provides speakers to FMIGs upon request. Each allopathic and osteopathic FMIG in the state has an assigned Foundation trustee liaison.
Primary care physician workforce is so important that it is a top priority for the OAFP and is the mission of the Foundation.