On Thursday, March 17, 2022, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) member Emily Onello, MD, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus, testified in support of SF 3563, legislation which will provide tax credits to precepting physicians and other health care clinicians that serve as preceptors in Minnesota.
“Most physicians who serve as preceptors for our future health care workforce do this without compensation. They do it because they know the importance of the work. However, with greater pressure on reducing health care costs, there is greater pressure to increase production in our fee-for-service health care reimbursement model. That is resulting in employers not seeing the value in, and providing the time for, precepting. Providing a tax credit is one small way to reward those who continue to serve this important role.
This alone will not solve our health care worker shortage. But, it will help me and my colleagues to recruit physicians and others in the health care team to serve as a preceptor, ensuring we have a well-trained workforce in the future.“-Emily Onello, MD
In Minnesota, we know that family physicians are THE doctors taking care of our rural communities (2017 Overview of the Physician Workforce, Minnesota Department of Health):
- More than 50% of physicians practicing in small, rural communities are family doctors.
- More than 66% of physicians practicing in isolated areas are family doctors.
The Problem Is…
We have a growing primary care physician shortage: By 2030, it is estimated that Minnesota will require approximately 1,187 additional primary care physicians to meet the demand driven by population growth, aging and broader insurance coverage (Robert Graham Center).
We also have a growing preceptor shortage (which deepens our primary care physician shortage).
The Importance of the Physician Preceptor
Evidence shows that early and consistent mentorship of medical students by preceptors, who help students develop necessary clinical skills and practical experience, increases the likelihood of students choosing family medicine as a career.
As we continue to experience primary care physician shortages, the current supply of preceptors isn’t enough to train and encourage students to choose family medicine and to prepare them for what to expect in their communities. Ultimately, this will threaten our state’s ability to meet the growing demand for primary care physicians.
How a Preceptor Tax Credit May Help
Many preceptors (and their employers) are concerned about increased time commitments from teaching that takes them away from their patients, leading to lower productivity in their roles as physicians, and the current compensation model for primary care physicians does not include reimbursement for precepting and teaching students, even though clinical training relies heavily on this concept.
While many reforms are needed to address the primary care physician and preceptor shortages, tax incentives are a way to compensate preceptors for their time and effort in training new physicians while also encouraging physicians to serve as preceptors.
Currently, five states in the U.S. have begun to use tax incentives for physician preceptors: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland and South Carolina. Minnesota needs to follow the lead of other states to appropriately incentivize preceptors to provide valuable hands-on experience, as the next generation’s physicians, as well as their patients, rely on it.
How You Can Help
Use our Speak Out tool to contact your legislators and urge them to support SF 3563 to provide tax credits to precepting physicians and other health care clinicians that serve as preceptors in Minnesota.
You can also search for your legislators via the state’s online directory.
The following physician training programs in Minnesota specifically support family medicine/primary care and are working to grow the primary care physician pipeline in our state. They rely heavily on preceptors from communities across Minnesota, who do not receive compensation for precepting, teaching and mentoring medical students.
- University of Minnesota Rural Physician Associate Program
- University of Minnesota Metropolitan Physician Associate Program
- University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus, Rural Medical Scholars Program (see map of preceptor sites)
- Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine Community Physician Apprenticeship Program
Of note: This list is not comprehensive.
- Minnesota Department of Health, 2017 Overview of the Physician Workforce.
- Robert Graham Center, Minnesota: Projecting Primary Care Workforce.
About the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians
Representing more than 3,100 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students, the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) is a state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the largest physician specialty organization in Minnesota. mafp.org