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  1. Here is the official response from the American Academy of Family Physicians:
    August 31, 2006
    Editor
    New York Times
    Dear Editor:
    I agree with Robin Cook (“Care by the Hour,” Aug. 30, 2006) that primary care physicians are forced to work in an environment that values costly procedures over top-quality preventive and chronic care. Unfortunately, these economic factors are driving physicians out of practice, which deprives patients of the care they deserve.
    However, it is wrong to say that family physicians do not have the same level of education as pediatricians and internists. All three specialties require rigorous three-year residencies in addition to medical school.
    I also disagree with Cook’s proposed solution. Rather than looking to billable hours, the American Academy of Family Physicians supports a system that pays doctors for all the services they provide — most importantly chronic disease management for patients who have conditions such as diabetes, depression and congestive heart failure.
    After all, family physicians want exactly what patients deserve — more time with them to provide quality, integrated and personalized care.
    Sincerely,
    Larry S. Fields, M.D.
    President, American Academy of Family Physicians

  2. Another good example of the NYT not using fact checkers. Although, if you write an oped piece, I guess you can write whatever you want. The essay says something to the effect of “Internists and Pediatricians should be paid more per hour than Family Physicians since they have more training.” Give me a break. All three specialties require three years of post-grad residency training, and Family Medicine requires the most rigorous re-certification procedures!

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