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Will shift toward primary care doctors lead to misdiagnoses?

When someone in Syracuse is concerned that he or she has some kind of specific condition, would he or she rather go to a primary care physician or a specialist? Most people would say specialist, in part because everyone knows specialists are just that: specialists in a specific field of medicine. Getting a diagnosis or being treated by specialist may be easier and faster than wading through primary care physicians who are not familiar with an individual's condition.

With all of this in mind, many people in upstate New York may be concerned about what is being described as a "seismic shift" away from specialists and toward primary care doctors. This could potentially lead to an increase in doctors' errors and medical malpractice in general. 

Currently, a primary care physician earns $1.6 million, whereas a specialist earns $1.4 million for his or her respective hospital. This is the first time since the company Merritt Hawkins first began surveying hospitals and others in the medical field that primary care doctors have earned more than specialists for hospitals.

Not only has this most recent survey found more people using primary care physicians, but there has also been an increase in primary care physicians in hospitals. What kind of role this will have on medical malpractice and diagnostical errors in upstate New York, however, has yet to be determined.

No one who goes for medical treatment should be subjected to medical malpractice. It is true that a doctor's job can be difficult, but that does not mean that he or she has an excuse for failing to follow accepted medical procedures while caring for a patient.

Source: American Medical News, “'Seismic shift' lifts primary care's impact on hospital revenues,” Sue Ter Maat, May 20, 2013

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