More medical school graduates opt for primary care

But primary care positions still left vacant

The number of medical students selecting primary care specialties increased this year by 400 to 7,328, marking the fourth consecutive year in which the number of students seeking primary care positions increased, according to a report released Friday by the National Resident Matching Program.

The release of the report coincided with Match Day, during which medical students find out where they will spend the next three to seven years of their medical career.

Overall, about one-quarter of graduating medical students that applied received placements in primary care. Most of the students accepted in primary care residency programs will serve in front-line specialties like internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine.

However, applicants still only filled about 50% of the available primary care positions, which typically pay less than specialty positions and require longer work hours.

Jeff Cain—president of the American Academy of Family Physicians—said the increase in primary care matches shows that the "[ACA] is putting more emphasis on the need for these kind of doctors," adding, "We welcome this news and expect the trend to continue" (Barr, Modern Physician, 3/15; Lloyd, USA Today).

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