Health Center News

Postcard from Massachusetts: Workforce Readiness in Modern Healthcare

We’re using the holiday time to catch up on news stories that may have escaped notice.  Here’s a headline from our friends at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers: “Med School Grads Are Not Prepared for Modern Healthcare” in the Bay State. As part of a daylong symposium last month celebrating the 50th anniversary of Community Health Centers, Mass League surveyed organization policymakers, health center leaders, advocates, and staff and found that primary care providers coming out of medical school today are not adequately trained for the new model of delivering care.

Since the 2006 health care reform, the state’s health centers have been actively engaged in transforming their care approach to the more team-based, patient-centric model that is now a cornerstone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to the Mass League press release.  While Massachusetts health centers have found early success with the transformation to this new approach, which moves from a single provider care model to integrated clinical teams focused on patient care coordination, there remains “a slow and difficult cultural shift for care providers, particularly physicians.”

“We’re making great progress, but it’s clear that medical schools have not adjusted their training approach to address issues of team coordination, process improvement, patient engagement and better use of technology – all of which are basic requirements in practicing primary care in the post-ACA era,” explained Antonia McGuire, Board Chair of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and President and CEO of the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester. “Medical schools should draw upon the community-based expertise of health centers in developing their curricula and training programs in primary care.”

“Community health center residency programs are an untapped resource for our nation’s medical schools, which are responsible for adequately preparing our future primary care providers for the modern healthcare system,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., President and CEO, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.