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On February 15, 2013, Posted by , In Caregivers,Home Care, By ,, , With Comments Off on Home Care and Caregiving Services in Grosse Pointe, MI

Fewer Doctors Specialize in Elder Care

Geriatricians are doctors with expertise in caring for older people. Most are trained in family practice or internal medicine but have completed one additional year of fellowship training in geriatrics.

“Training in geriatric medicine can help save or improve the lives of people who still have much to give,” said Dr. Charles Cefalu, director of geriatric program development at Louisiana State University.

Health officials are sounding the alarm that, in a country where the number of elderly is on the rise, there are too few health providers knowledgeable about aging issues. They want Congress to address the shortage as lawmakers write far-reaching Medicare reform legislation.

“The shortage of geriatric-trained health-care professionals is reaching crisis levels,” said Sen. John B. Breaux (D-La.), chairman of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.

The United States should have 20,000 geriatric-trained physicians to adequately care for the 35 million older people in this country, says the Alliance for Aging Research, an advocacy group.

But fewer than 9,000 of the nation’s 650,000 licensed physicians have met the qualifying criteria in geriatrics.

Reasons for the shortage vary and include a lack of geriatric curriculum at medical schools. But officials say topping the list is Medicare’s paltry payments for doctors who care for the elderly.  Many geriatricians are wondering…When time comes to be recertified … they have to ask themselves, “Why am I seeing all of these old people on Medicare because Medicare every year is paying me less and less.”

A geriatrician often does a complete assessment of a patient, bringing in nutritionists, pharmacists and social workers–a process that takes a considerable amount of time.

The problem is coming just as the number of older Americans–those 65 and older–is expected to more than double, to 70 million by the year 2030.

Perhaps it is time for Congress to set goals for increasing the number of geriatric providers in all fields and provide financial incentives, such as loan forgiveness and continuing education funds, to entice professionals into the field.

Source:  http://articles.latimes.com

Contact Pure Home Care Services at (586) 293-2457 today!  If you live in Grosse Pointe or the surrounding area, we can help you care for your loved ones.

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