A Little More Respect, Please, For Our Primary Care Doctors

When this magazine began over 13 years ago, it was dedicated to helping primary care physicians maneuver through the new and confusing maze of managed care.

We laid out the choice facing doctors: “Resist the changes brought about by managed care and accept a dwindling, unsatisfying practice, or understand the changes, adapt to them, and survive — even thrive.” From the beginning, part of what distinguished Managed Care from other publications was its philosophical approach to the industry, one that sought to help physicians seeking to understand and adapt.

Before we came along, physician magazines’ take on managed care was pretty simple: evil incarnate. While this approach made for some dramatic reading, it was of little help to physicians in the real world.

We quickly realized that PCPs weren’t our only readers; medical directors and then pharmacy directors studied us. Over time they have become our primary — but by no means exclusive — readership.

Our cover piece by Contributing Editor Martin Sipkoff illustrates that while the industry and the publications covering it have changed dramatically over the years, the relationship upon which so much turns continues to be the one between health plan and doctor.

That dynamic appears to be entering yet another phase. Witness our references to new models of primary care. PCPs may gain more respect as health plans recognize and promote their roles in, among other things, preventive medicine and disease management.

The glue that holds together most business arrangements is money. It happens that, in this case, a cohesive doctor-insurer relationship will also do patients, and therefore society, a world of good.

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