Report highlights ID physician public health contributions, challenges
Delineating the broad range of public health contributions provided by physicians specializing in infectious diseases, an article published today in Clinical Infectious Diseases sets forth concrete recommendations to ensure continued training and practice in the field meet increasing demand.
In addition to the care they administer to individual patients, the article notes, infectious disease physicians protect public health by preventing and controlling hospital acquired infections, implementing antimicrobial stewardship, enabling disease surveillance and in responses to infectious disease outbreaks in the U.S. and worldwide. While undergoing from two to four years of additional training, however, infectious diseases physicians earn significantly less than physicians in other subspecialties, including ones that require less training. The article counts this among factors discouraging new physicians facing the need to repay substantial medical education loans from entering the field.
Enumerating the ways in which infectious disease physicians’ expertise are essential to public health practice, policy and interventions, the article’s authors recommend policies that
- establish loan repayment opportunities for infectious diseases working in public service,
- establish fair and adequate compensation for those working in public service, or whose work provides broader public health benefits,
- ensure that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services billing codes reflect the complexity of care provided by infectious diseases physicians,
- and ensure that local state, federal and global public health agencies are fully funded.
The article, Infectious Diseases Physicians: Improving and Protecting the Public’s Health- Why Equitable Compensation is Critical, is here.