Apr 242013


By Katherine Ayers

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

East Carolina University’s medical school dean stressed the importance of primary care physicians as keys to promoting a healthier workforce and lower health care costs during his testimony to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Dr. Paul Cunningham, head of the Brody School of Medicine, spoke for five minutes to the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging about the effectiveness of health care workforce programs. He also submitted written testimony and answered questions from the subcommittee.

“The Senate was very perceptive and they touched on the need to collaborate with other providers including nurse practitioners, physician assistants and even dentists,” Cunningham said. “We’re wonderfully situated in Greenville because we have the School of Nursing, School of Allied Health, the new dental school and the medical school all on same campus.

“We already work together and that’s an enormous advantage as we think about how we adapt health care in the future,” he said.

With a patient’s access to health care a hot topic at the moment, Cunningham said his testimony will help inform any deliberations going forward.

“The emphasis will need to shift from managing disease rather than treating it,” Cunningham said. “We’re going to need lot more primary care doctors to deal with current and future needs (of keeping people well).”

Cunningham was asked to testify because of Brody’s successful track record of training primary care physicians, especially those who go on to serve in rural areas.

According to an ECU news release, Brody leads the nation in training primary care doctors.

Many stay and practice medicine in eastern North Carolina.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, is the committee chairman while Sen. Richard Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, is the ranking member.

Contact Katherine Ayers at kayers@reflector.com and 252-329-9567. Follow her on Twitter @KatieAyersGDR.

via The Daily Reflector.


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