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For Release: 4 p.m. ET, September 9, 2008
Contact: DMS Communications 603-650-1492

National Health Workforce Planning Needed, Says DMS Doctor

Dr. David Goodman
Dr. David Goodman

Hanover, N.H.—Successful health care reform requires better public policy planning for the medical professionals the country needs, asserts a Dartmouth Medical School physician. He calls for the establishment of a national health workforce commission.

"The United States should establish a permanent health workforce commission that can help overcome the current limitations of health professions training," writes Dr. David Goodman, professor of pediatrics and of community and family medicine, in an editorial published in the September 10 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

A permanent health workforce commis- sion ... can help overcome the current limitations of health professions training.

—Dr. David Goodman

Commenting on articles regarding the heath workforce in JAMA's medical education theme issue, he says there is a policy vacuum and that a commission can protect the public investment in the health education pipeline.

Goodman is the associate director of the center for health policy research of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and studies issues related to distribution of medical resources. He outlines five guiding principles for the commission's charter.

  1. Articulate the public interest and "craft evidence-based policy that improves" health outcomes, and health care access, quality and affordability.
  2. "Include experts in public health, patient-centered care, and epidemiology, as well as clinicians, consumers, innovative and efficient health systems, payers and medical educators."
  3. Consider policy for all types of health clinicians to meet patient needs.
  4. Assemble "a dedicated staff to develop the expertise for evaluating the workforce and the likely effect of policy recommendations."
  5. Provide from Congress "an increasing degree of regulatory responsibility that insulates reform from the self-interests of training programs and clinicians."

A broad-based commission offers accountability to best serve the public, Goodman concludes. "It is unreasonable to expect that market forces will self-organize an effective health workforce. It is time to try public health workforce planning."


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