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Encourage retiring military medics to become primary-care clinicians in civilian life

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Seal of the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

Arthur L. Kellermann, M.D., proposes, in a STAT article, that military-trained medical personnel be encouraged to become primary-care clinicians for the civilian population when they leave the service. This, he argues, would help alleviate America’s serious deficits in primary care.

Dr. Kellermann writes

“What our nation needs is a new type of primary care extender who has the local knowledge of a community health worker, the procedural skills of a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, and ready access to the knowledge of their supervising primary care providers through a mobile telehealth link. They should be easy to train and able to work apart from their supervising provider or primary care clinic.

“Retiring {military} medics and corpsmen are ideally suited for this role.

“Would patients accept treatment from a former medic or corpsman? I believe so. For four decades, Americans have gladly received lifesaving care from emergency medical technicians and paramedics working under the license and remote supervision of emergency physicians. ”

“A corps of primary care technicians that includes, but isn’t limited to, former armed services health workers would be a boon to communities that currently lack access to primary care. The payoff for former medics and corpsmen would be equally big. Rather than having to go back to school or start over when they complete their military careers, they could readily translate their clinical skills and experience to serve communities in a new and valuable way.”

To read the STAT piece, please hit this link.

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