Primary care doctors are the first line of defense in the American health-care system. But a new report suggests that many of them feel they aren't equipped to handle their most challenging patients.
Up to one in four U.S. primary care doctors believe their practices aren't well prepared to manage care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, according to the report issued Monday by the Commonwealth Fund, a health-care research foundation.
That finding comes as the overall U.S. population is aging and as nearly 70 percent of recipients people 65 years or older covered by Medicare — the federal health insurance program for senior citizens — are reported to have multiple chronic conditions.
Separately, the Commonwealth Fund survey also found that a large majority of primary care doctors — 84 percent — say they aren't well prepared to deal with patients with severe mental illness.