Population trends are driving an undeniable imperative: The United States must begin training its primary care physicians to provide higher-quality, more cost-effective care to older people with chronic conditions. Doing so will require aggressive initiatives to educate primary care physicians to apply principles of geriatricsfor example, optimizing functional autonomy and quality of lifewithin emerging models of chronic care. Policy options to drive such reforms include the following: providing financial support for medical schools and residency programs that adopt appropriate educational innovations; tailoring Medicare's educational subsidy to reform graduate medical education; and invoking state requirements that physicians obtain geriatric continuing education credits to maintain their licensure or to practice as Medicaid providers or medical directors of nursing homes. This paper also argues that the expertise of geriatricians could be broadened to include educational and leadership skills. These geriatrician-leaders could then become teachers in the educational programs of many disciplines. This would require changes inside and outside academic medicine.
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