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October 31, 2018

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ID Contributions to Public Health & Challenges Faced Highlighted in CID

 

Delineating the broad range of public health contributions provided by physicians specializing in infectious diseases, an article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, "Infectious Diseases Physicians: Improving and Protecting the Public’s Health - Why Equitable Compensation is Critical," 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 diseases physicians protect public health by preventing and controlling hospital acquired infections, implementing antimicrobial stewardship programs, enabling disease surveillance and responses to infectious diseases outbreaks in the U.S. and worldwide. Although they undergo two to four years of additional training, infectious diseases physicians earn significantly less than physicians in other subspecialties, including ones that require less training. The article counts this among the factors discouraging new physicians facing the need to repay substantial medical education loans from entering the field.

Enumerating the ways in which infectious diseases physicians’ expertise are essential to public health practice, policy and interventions, the article’s authors, including IDSA Public Health Committee Chair, Matthew Zahn, MD, FIDSA; Amesh Adaljah, MD, FIDSA; and IDSA Immediate Past President, Paul Auwaerter, MD, FIDSA, recommend policies that:

  • establish loan repayment opportunities for infectious diseases physicians 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.

Read the full list of recommendations in CID.

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