In 1969 the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) aired a new medical drama called Marcus Welby, M.D. The title character was a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who made house calls, had a kind bedside manner, and was on a first name basis with most of his patients. The drama highlighted the meaning of caring for the whole person, not just a specific part of the body. Unfortunately those days are gone, just when we need them the most. It is projected that the demand for PCP’s will rapidly increase due to an aging population and health care reform, leaving a shortage of over 20,000 physicians by the year 2020 ("Projecting the Supply," 2013).
A healthy primary care base is critical to the running of an effective health care system. People who have access to PCP’s are more likely to receive preventive and timely care for medical conditions. Having a PCP is also associated with fewer emergency department visits and fewer hospital admissions (Abrams, Nuzum, Mika, & Lawlor, 2011). Developed countries have made primary care the foundation of their healthcare system. The U.S. followed this model until 1949, and since that time PCP’s have been steadily declining (Shi & Singh, 2015). A study by West and Dupras in 2012 showed that only 21.5 percent of third year internal medicine residents intended to continue on and make general internal medicine their career (Shi & Singh, 2015). Today, most medical school graduates are entering specialties such as anesthesia, cardiology and